CINCINNATI -- It started with a text message from Rockies All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. And on Tuesday, it culminated in the announcement that another All-Star, Reds third baseman Todd Frazier, will participate in the Gillette Home Run Derby on Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.
"He approached me through text message and I said, 'Hopefully you'll consider me,'" Frazier said of his communication with the National League Home Run Derby captain. "He got back to me the next day and said, 'You're the man.' So I can't wait to see the excitement and the nerves and the buildup. It'll be pretty cool."
Home Run Derby participants
|RF||Jose Bautista, TOR (Captain)|
|3B||Josh Donaldson, OAK|
|2B||Brian Dozier, MIN|
|CF||Adam Jones, BAL|
|LF||Yoenis Cespedes, OAK*||National League|
|SS||Troy Tulowitzki, COL (Captain)|
|3B||Todd Frazier, CIN|
|1B||Justin Morneau, COL|
|RF||Yasiel Puig, LAD|
|RF||Giancarlo Stanton, MIA|
Frazier entered Tuesday's nightcap of a day-night doubleheader against the Cubs leading NL third basemen and tied for third in the league overall with 17 home runs. He's been hot at the plate despite going 0-for-4 in the first game of the twin bill, but said he isn't concerned that participating in the home run contest will affect his swing.
"When you get asked to do something like this, I wasn't even thinking about my swing, not at all," Frazier said. "I could come back the next game and when we go to New York [for a series with the Yankees] hit for hours and get it back in case that happens."
"It's a great thing for him," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He has a very good approach at the plate that you don't want to see change. There are things that happen after the Home Run Derby that you don't know what to attribute them to, good and bad. But he's a professional and he knows how to hit and he hits home runs all the time, so I think he would be a very strong candidate as well because I know he can put the ball well beyond the fences."
Frazier and the rest of the derby participants will be ready to take aim at Target Field at 8 p.m. ET on Monday night (ESPN).
There is one unclaimed spot in each league. Those announcements will come Thursday.
A new format has been installed, as the five players from each league will receive seven outs instead of the usual 10 in the first round. The player who hits the most homers in each league will receive an automatic bye to the third round (semifinals). The next two players from each league with the most homers will square off against one another in a head-to-head matchup in the second round (seven outs), with the two winners advancing to the semifinals against the league's top seed (again, with seven outs).
The final round will also consist of seven outs, and, if necessary, the first tiebreaker would allow each of the two remaining participants three swings apiece.
In his announcement of three of the four NL players he would be teaming with in the Home Run Derby, Tulowitzki told ESPN that he remembers watching Frazier hit a leadoff homer in the 1998 Little League World Series.
"I know he has some experience in Williamsport," Tulowitzki said. "I think he has a flair for the dramatic. His power is special as well."
Frazier said he will probably have his older brother Charlie take the mound at Target Field to pitch to him during the competition.
"He throws to me back at home all the time, and I think that would be pretty cool to have your brother throwing to you. Hopefully, he doesn't fizzle up either, and hopefully both of us can figure something out and get in a groove.
"He's pumped … he'll get the Frazier jersey on and I think that would be pretty cool, a little memory for us and the family."
If you can't wait for the actual Derby, the MLB.com Home Run Derby mobile game is a good way to immerse yourself in the action immediately, with Target Field serving as the setting. The game is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play. New for 2014 is Multiplayer Derby Mode, Achievements and Objectives.
Frazier will be the first Reds player to participate in the Home Run Derby since Ken Griffey, Jr. in 2000.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.