Josh Hamilton declines HR Derby

Updated: June 5, 2012, 9:31 PM ET
By Jeff Fletcher | ESPNDallas.com

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Josh Hamilton, who had one of the most memorable Home Run Derby performances in the history of the event, will be passing again on the chance at an encore.

The Texas Rangers superstar said on Tuesday that he has was offered the opportunity to be the captain for the American League's Home Run Derby team, but he declined and won't participate at all. Hamilton has not been a part of the event since 2008, when he hit a record 28 homers in the first round.

"It's just not the right time," Hamilton said of passing on this year's event. "I haven't done it in the last couple years. I want to be healthy and be the best I can be for the team. I don't want to take a chance of going out and hurting anything trying to entertain folks in the (Home Run Derby). That's why I declined again."

Hamilton began the 2008 season on a similar hot streak as he's started 2012, winning Player of the Month in both April and May. He slumped in the second half in 2008, and there was speculation that so many big swings at the Derby may have contributed.

"No, it didn't hurt in 2008, but it takes one swing (to get hurt)," Hamilton said. "You've got to be smart about it. I understand that I play Major League Baseball, but I work for the Texas Rangers. I understand they need me healthy and I want to be healthy. I would love to go out and hit as many home runs as I can. I enjoy doing it. I have fun doing it, but it's not fair to go out there and do something for myself and possibly get injured."

Regardless of whether Hamilton is in the Home Run Derby, he is a virtual lock to be an All-Star. Hamilton led all major leaguers with 2.58 million votes when the first totals were announced on Tuesday.

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