Trumbo gets some HR Derby help from Pujols …

One of Robinson Cano‘s first calls went to Albert Pujols.

The Yankees’ second baseman, serving as the captain for the American League in the State Farm Home Run Derby, wanted his good friend to join the team. And Pujols, who has competed in three of these HR Derby events, would’ve done it if he had been picked for the All-Star Game. But if not, he asked Cano if he would pick teammate Mark Trumbo, instead.

And so he did.

“I told Robbie to call him, because I thought he deserved it,” Pujols said in Spanish. “It’s great to have fresh faces in the Home Run Derby. He invited me, but I told him, ‘Robbie, to be honest, if I don’t get picked for the All-Star Game, I’m not going to do it, but I’d love it if you invited Trumbo,’ and he told me he’d do it.”

Pujols has pretty much been, well, Pujols for a while now, batting .325 with 11 homers and 34 RBIs over his last 42 games. But a dreadful April has given him a very un-Pujols-like .271 batting average and .789 OPS throughout the season, denying him a chance to play in the All-Star Game for only the third time (and second straight season) in his 12-year career.

This one would’ve been extra special, since it’s taking place in Kansas City, where Pujols essentially grew up in the United States.

Here’s what Pujols said about not getting in …

“It’s part of baseball. I feel like there are players that should be in the All-Star Game and aren’t. I mean, look at the season Edwin Encarnacion [of the Blue Jays] is having, and not even the players selected him – a guy who has 55 RBIs and is batting .[291] with 22 homers. What else do you have to do to be an All-Star? And I’ve always said it – when I don’t deserve to go to an All-Star Game, I feel like I shouldn’t go.

“I was bad in April. If I would’ve had a good year, or just a good April, my numbers would’ve been right there for the All-Star Game. But it’s part of baseball. We’ll wait ‘til next year and try to do the best I can to be in the All-Star Game, because that’s an honor, to be around so many stars. And it’s very important in this game, since whoever wins gets home-field advantage for the World Series. But that’s part of baseball. It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last time [I don’t make it]. It’s already been three times I don’t go. I’m blessed to have been able to go nine times.”

The Angels are well represented in the All-Star Game, with Trumbo, Mike Trout, C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver going, and Ernesto Frieri being an option as a Final Vote candidate. Their biggest snub isn’t Pujols — it’s Scott Downs, the left-hander who has given up only one earned run in 26 innings this year.

But that’s the way it usually is for non-closer relievers — and Downs is in no way surprised he wasn’t chosen.

“It is what it is,” he said. “I have no control over it. It is what it is. You can’t really do anything about it. … It’s closers and starters. That’s the way it’s been for a long time. I don’t know what to say. I’m not mad, I’m not upset. All I can do is go out and do what I do. If it gets recognized, great. If it doesn’t, as long as I help the team out, that’s all that matters.”



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