NEW YORK -- Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, who was dealing with a popped blister in the center of his right palm during the second round of Monday’s Home Run Derby, said what really derailed him during the event was fatigue.
“Yeah, your adrenaline gets you going for a little bit,” said Davis, who was knocked out in the second round, falling to Washington’s Bryce Harper and the eventual champion, Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes. “But once that wears off, you realize how many swings you take and how tiring it really is.”
"It’s not just batting practice; the derby is much more difficult, he said.
He also noted that the Derby is harder than it looks.
“Absolutely. Oh my goodness,” Davis said. “You think it is just BP without the cage, but you don’t realize how many swings you are taking in such little time. And the fact when you are hitting BP with a group you have a few guys there to take a break. So it is definitely harder than it looks.”
He had eight homers in the first round and four in the second – fiver fewer than what Cespedes managed in the first round alone, an impressive 17.
“I kept looking up there and seeing 17 and thinking, ‘Man. That’s a long ways to get to.’ Two or three and you felt like you hit five. Those outs creep up on you pretty fast. But what [Cespedes] did was unbelievable,” Davis said. “It looked like he was barely swinging and launching balls. All the guys obviously have tremendous power, and the fact that he was just effortlessly hitting home runs. I am not going to lie. I thought he was kind of the darkhorse coming in. I’ve seen him up close and personal the first couple years and I know what kind of player he is and I was really excited to see him get to hit.”
As for the 20-year-old Harper’s second-place finish, Davis said: “It was pretty impressive. He is here for a reason. I was excited to see him get to hit and he didn’t disappoint.”
According to Davis’ teammate, 21-year-old Manny Machado, Davis didn’t disappoint, either.
“I thought he did great, I thought he did awesome. It was a lot of fun,” Machado said. “It was amazing. I just see a smile on his face (during the season) and now I got to see the smile on his face during the home run derby. Just awesome.”
Machado said he got to see how difficult the competition is up close after watching it on TV for years.
“It’s tough. You have the first round and then you sit down for another 35-45 minutes,” Machado said. “I thought [Davis] was going to come through, but he just fell a little short.”
Einar Diaz, the Orioles’ extra coach who acted as Davis’ batting practice pitcher, said he wasn’t nervous at all. A former big league catcher, Diaz said he just threw the ball down the middle and waited for Davis to do his thing.
“I think he did all right. Then I saw him have a little blister,” Diaz said.
The Derby was easier, Diaz said, than throwing normal BP.
“Because you have a catcher there,” Diaz laughed.