Programming note: Giants-A’s coverage starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. with A’s Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
Yoenis Cespedes will compete in the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby, MLB announced Tuesday afternoon.
Cespedes, who defeated Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper in the final round of the 2013 Derby at Citi Field, has 14 home runs on the season after posting a career-best 26 homers last season.
A's manager Bob Melvin had mixed feelings about Cespedes' participation in the event.
"It was so entertaining last year, and whenever you get an opportunity to do that as a player, I certainly understand that. you can’t help but be a little nervous about (the chance of an injury), and I think that’s the case with any organization that has a player in it. But at the end of the day, that is a very entertaining event, and the fact that he won it last year gives us a little more exposure, and that’s probably not a bad thing. You just hope nobody gets hurt," said Melvin.
He will become the ninth player (10th time overall) to defend his Derby crown in the year after he won, and it marks the fourth consecutive year that the defending champion is participating (also David Ortiz in 2011; Robinson Cano in 2012 and Prince Fielder in 2013).
Cespedes will give the A's their 12th participant in the event in the history of the Derby, which will be tied for third with Seattle among A.L. teams behind Baltimore (13) and Toronto (14).
The Cuban native is the third player in A's history to compete in the event on more than one occasion, joining Jose Canseco (1986, 1990) and Mark McGwire (1987, 1990, 1992, 1996-97).
Other Athletics to take part in the Derby include Ruben Sierra (1994), John Jaha (1999) and Jason Giambi (2001).
When Cespedes won the Derby last season, he was not an All-Star. This year, he will participate in the Derby on Monday and the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
Cespedes will represent the American League with Jose Bautista, Adam Jones and Brian Dozier. They will compete against Troy Tulowitzki, Giancarlo Stanton, Yasiel Puig and Todd Frazier of the National League.
MLB media services contributed to this report