Nothing says summer like the Home Run Derby. The best long-ball hitters compete to see who can be crowned Home Run king. In recent years the award has gone to the likes of David Ortiz, Prince Fielder, Justin Morneau, and Vladimir Guerrero. Of course, these home run fests would not be possible without the unsung heroes: the pitchers. It takes a special skill set to be able to throw meatball after meatball to a hungry batter.
Today, Royals right-hander Vin Mazzaro made a strong argument for his inclusion in this year's Home Run Derby at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. The right-hander allowed 14 earned runs in two and a third innings. “Some of the plays didn't go my way,” Mazzaro said after the game. Not since 1942 has a reliever given up as many runs. When asked about his pitcher's performance, Royals manager Ned Yost said, “He's got to throw more strikes.” If he hopes to throw dozens of homers in the derby, Mazzaro does need to throw more hittable balls. “Some guys dream of being hall of famers,” Mazzaro said, “I just want to pitch in one home run derby.”
His dreams of long-ball greatness might not come true as Mazzaro was demoted back to the minors after tonight's performance. With an ERA on the season of 22.74 it's doubtful that Mazarro will make it back to the majors before the all-star break in July. “Everybody wants to hold a great record,” Mazzaro said, “like Chan Ho Park giving up two grand slams to the same batter in the same inning. Records like that are once in a generation.”