ST. LOUIS -- A first-time participant in the State Farm Home Run Derby, Carlos Beltran still has several details to work out. He hasn't chosen a pitcher, nor has the switch-hitter decided which side of the plate he'll take his swings from. He also has plans to discuss strategy with teammates Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday, previous Derby participants.
But details aside, Beltran is clearly excited about the opportunity.
"I think it's great," Beltran said, one day after the Dodgers' Matt Kemp named the Cardinals' right fielder to the four-man National League team. "What can I say? I have no experience in an event like a Home Run Derby, but I'm going to enjoy it."
The Home Run Derby can be seen on MLB.com and ESPN at 7 p.m. CT on Monday. The All-Star Game is on FOX at 6:30 p.m. the following day.
Beltran, whose parents are flying in from Puerto Rico to see him take part in the showcase event, intends to approach his Derby swings the way he would swings during a batting practice session. He also has the benefit of familiarity with Kauffman Stadium, his home stadium for the first seven years of his career. He has hit more of his 322 career home runs at the Kansas City ballpark (61) than in any other.
Beltran expects his experience as a Derby observer to help him as he moves into the spotlight.
"I've been to some All-Star Games before and always stay for the Home Run Derby and watch what those guys do," said Beltran, who has 20 homers this year. "They kind of take a swing, take a pitch, take a rest. They don't try to swing at every pitch, because you get tired if you do that, even in batting practice. You have to pick your spots and look for the ball you can drive out of the ballpark."