7/8 Byrd wants to hit in HR Derby

Marlon Byrd wouldn’t mind getting a chance to swing for the fences in the Home Run Derby.

“I’d love to be in the Home Run Derby,” said Byrd, the Cubs’ lone All-Star representative.

On Thursday, Major League Baseball announced Hanley Ramirez has committed to participating on Monday and he joins Corey Hart and Matt Holliday on the National League team.

Byrd has heard some players say they don’t want to take part in the event because it messes up their swings.

“Those are hitters who have done it before,” Byrd said. “I haven’t been in a Home Run Derby since 2001 and a Double-A All-Star Game. I finished second.”

Byrd entered Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers with nine home runs, well off the pace of some of the National League leaders. But if someone came to him and asked?

“If someone came to me? It’s a definite yes,” Byrd said. “It’s automatic.”

In 2001, Byrd hit 28 home runs for Double-A Reading. He lost the derby that year to a player in Oakland’s organization, who is now a real estate agent in Las Vegas.

Of course, Byrd is so excited to be part of the All-Star festivities, he’s bringing his family and parents to Anaheim. If they had a hitting skills competition, sign him up.

“I’d do anything,” Byrd said.

“You have to enjoy it,” he said. “Anybody for the first time, they don’t go, ‘Hey, I’m not going to do it because it will mess my swing.’ I’ve seen guys who are in the Home Run Derby struggle in the second half. But I wouldn’t change a thing.”

— Carrie Muskat

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