Now that Chris Davis is assured the starting spot at first base on the American League All-Star team, another obvious question is lingering.
Will he represent the AL in the Home Run Derby?
Official word is supposed to come Monday, when New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and New York Mets third baseman David Wright — this year's Derby captains — are expected to announce their teams.
Davis, who leads all major leaguers with 33 homers this season and also has plenty of mammoth, great-for-TV shots on his resume, seems like a no-brainer.
When the Yankees and Orioles played in May, Cano approached Davis to gauge his interest in being a Derby participant.
"I told him, 'Sure, I'd be interested,'" Davis said.
They haven't talked since about the possibility — not even during this weekend's three-game series in New York. Davis joked that he's mad at Cano for taking away a few hits from him in shallow right field.
But Davis expects to be in it, and he's not worried that trying to hit homers in an exhibition will hurt his swing once the meaningful games start again.
"I play Home Run Derby every day in batting practice," Davis said.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Davis has his blessing.
"I don't mind. If Chris wants to do it, that's fine. I'm all for what they [want]," Showalter said. "I did tell him that if he gets into it, realize that a ball that scrapes the wall for a home run counts as much as those 'Wow' home runs."
Showalter joked that the pressure will actually be on extra coach Einar Diaz, who likely will join Davis as his batting practice pitcher.
When Showalter was asked if he'd watch the spectacle that is the home run derby to see Davis, the manager quipped, "If I do, it will be with the sound off, I'll tell you that."
Davis the leader among leaders
Davis said if he could vote for just one American League All-Star it would be, without a doubt, reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera.
So Davis said he was genuinely surprised when his wife informed him Saturday evening that he had received more votes than any other big leaguer with 8,272,243. He had been second, trailing the Detroit Tigers' Cabrera, before final results were announced Saturday.
"I think it's pretty cool," Davis said. "Any time you see the kind of year Cabrera is having, you kind of assume he is going to lead the votes, but I think it speaks well not only of our fan base but to all the fans that voted across the nation. It's definitely humbling and something I take a lot of pride in."
Markakis: "I get four days off"
Nick Markakis obviously would have liked to have made his first All-Star game and join his four teammates in New York City.
But he said he wasn't disappointed that he fell a couple hundred thousand votes behind Toronto's Jose Bautista for the final outfield starting spot. He wasn't chosen in the players' vote or by AL manager Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers.
"I get four days off to relax with my family, what's disappointing about that?" Markakis said.
Several of Markakis' teammates made a point to say how they had wished Markakis' steady presence would have been rewarded by the fans. And that sentiment wasn't lost on the Orioles' veteran right fielder.
"That's pretty cool. You're grateful how your teammates think of you," he said. "That's the main thing. I care more about that than anything else — my team and my family."
The Orioles currently list their starters for the four-game Texas series as Scott Feldman on Monday, Zach Britton on Tuesday, Miguel Gonzalez on Wednesday and Chris Tillman for Thursday.
But Showalter said Wei-Yin Chen, who has been sidelined since May with an oblique strain, will return to the 25-man roster and start either Tuesday or Wednesday. So the Orioles could skip a starter or push everyone back one day.
Around the horn
Heading into Sunday's loss, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera hadn't blown a save at Yankee Stadium since Sept. 26, 2010 against Boston. He hadn't allowed a home run at home since August 2011. … The Orioles are 7-7 in Yankee Stadium since the beginning of 2012. Before that, they were 6-21 since the new Yankee Stadium opened. … With Sunday's win, the Orioles evened their record in day games to 17-17. … Prior to Sunday's game, the Yankees honored victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. First responders from Newtown, Conn., were on hand before the game and the Newtown Youth Choir sang the National Anthem. A moment of silence was held as the names of the shooting victims were shown on the center field screen.
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