Cincinnati — Yoenis Cespedes, because he is the two-time reigning Home Run Derby champion, has an automatic invitation to the All-Star festivities in Cincinnati this year.
But he wants to be there representing the Tigers in the game, not just in the home run hitting contest.
"It is much better when you make the All-Star team, than just participating in the Home Run Derby," he said through interpreter Aileen Villarreal, the Tigers media-relations director. "The overall experience is better when you are part of the team."
Cespedes seemed to indicate that if he wasn't selected to the American League team, he may not compete in the derby.
"I am still thinking about it," he said. "But it will depend on whether I make the All-Star team."
There is no disputing his All-Star worthiness. He ranks in the top 10 in the American League in seven offensive categories, plus in outfield assists. He has thrown out seven runners this season.
He most likely will have to be voted into the game as a reserve by the players and coaches.
Still, the derby holds a special place in his heart.
"There is a lot of pride," he said, again through Villarreal. "There's only been two players that have won it consecutive times — me and Ken Griffey, Jr. So there is pride that comes along with it."
Had a feeling
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said he had a feeling the Reds were up to something in the second inning Wednesday.
"It's rare you see it that early, especially in a tie game," he said. "But I kind of thought they might do it."
The Reds' Eugenio Suarez executed a perfect squeeze bunt, scoring Jay Bruce.
"The pitcher was coming up next," Ausmus said. "And with David Price and Johnny Cueto pitching, it was likely to be a low-scoring game. So it crossed my mind that they might do it."
In fact, he turned to bench coach Gene Lamont and told him he thought they might squeeze. He tried to get catcher James McCann's attention, but it was too late.
"It's different when the pitcher is coming up, you kind of assume that's an out," he said. "We saw Bruce, and you could kind of tell by his body language that he was getting ready to go. McCann had already looked in and I had already given the sign — then we noticed Bruce. By then it was too late."
Around the horn
Ausmus stayed with right-hander Joba Chamberlain against the left-handed Bruce with two outs in the eighth inning Wednesday. Here's why: Bruce is hitting .281 with a .547 slugging percentage and a .912 OPS against left-handed pitching. Against right-handers, Bruce is hitting .212 with a .378 slugging and .706 OPS. Bruce hit a long fly to the wall in left that Cespedes couldn't haul in. Cespedes said he mistimed his leap.
… Ausmus said he finally heard from somebody from Major League Baseball regarding his criticism of the instant-replay rule this season. But that was all he was disclosing. "Who I spoke to and what was spoken, I am not going to discuss," he said.
… Reds third baseman Todd Frazier, who'd hit four home runs off the Tigers the last two games, and Bruce, who had five hits Wednesday, were both given rest days by manager Bryan Price. "I wasn't disappointed," Ausmus said.