Wells enjoys first Derby experience
Blue Jays slugger belts two home runs in first round
ANAHEIM -- Vernon Wells' first time in the State Farm Home Run Derby didn't last long.
It's not just that Wells was knocked out of the first round after hitting just two home runs at Angel Stadium on Monday. Wells, battling the late afternoon Southern California sun and shadows, saw just 18 pitches during his time at the plate.
"The shadows made it a little difficult, but it was a fun experience," Wells. "There wasn't much pressure; you just have to be patient up there."Red Sox slugger David Ortiz defeated the Marlins' Hanley Ramirez in the finals.
Teammate John Buck was supposed to pitch to Wells, but he backed out at the last minute to spend time with his son on the field. Mike Ashman, who pitches batting practice for the Angels, was enlisted for the job.Wells' first home run came after three outs when he barely got one over the left-field wall. A fan in the front row got a glove on it, and it's debatable whether it was an actual home run. It measured 361 feet and the officials counted it gone. His second home run came after eight outs. There was no doubt on this one, a 428-foot home run to deep left field. But that was it. Wells' last swing produced a drive off the left-center-field wall and he was done with the Derby. "It was fun," Wells said. "I definitely learned a lot going through it. It would be fun to go through it again." Wells is making his third trip to the All-Star Game, and was recruited for the Derby because he is tied for sixth in the American League with 19 home runs.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.