PHOENIX – Many were shocked that Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton wasn’t selected to partake in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star festivities next Monday.
Upton, who has 15 home runs, admits he would have liked to participate in the contest, but has his eye on getting the Diamondbacks back to the postseason.
“To be honest with you, I really wanted to be there and do the Home Run Derby, but the less I have to mess up my swing in the Home Run Derby, the happier I am,” said Upton on the Sports 620 KTAR’s Gambo and Ash show on Friday.
Players who have participated in the derby from year’s past have struggled following the All-Star break after altering their swings to hit home runs in the derby.
Upton wants to keep his swing right where it is and keep his team in contention for the NL West division title.
“Two days after the All-Star festivities, we’ll be right back grinding and if my swing’s good and I don’t have to do the derby, I’m fine with that.”
“All the festivities of the All-Star game are great, but the main goal is to be there in October,” said Upton.
The D-backs right fielder is just happy to be having a solid season and making his second All-Star appearance.
“At the start of the season knowing the All-Star game is in your hometown, you push towards being there and the opportunity to play in front of the home fans is going to be awesome,” said Upton.
Upton has been on fire as of late raising his batting average by about 40 points during the month of June.
The D-backs star player credits part of his stellar season on the team’s vast improvement and being in contention.
“It’s fun going to the ballpark grinding every single day and winning ballgames. You definitely elevate your game a little bit,” said Upton.
If Upton can continue performing like an All-Star in the second half of the season, there’s a good chance Arizona will hang around the top of the division for the rest of the season.