David Ortiz has some decisions to make.
On Thursday, Ortiz was tapped by Major League Baseball to captain the American League contingent for the All-Star Home Run Derby on July 11 at Chase Field in Arizona. His primary duty in that role will be to pick the three players who will join him on the AL team.
And so, over the next few days, Ortiz will make phone calls and send text messages to various players to gauge their interest. He said he already has three players in mind, but he wouldn't reveal their names until he speaks to them.
"It's tough," Ortiz said. "I mean, there's a lot of players -- great players, and even players that are not home run hitters -- that can put up a show. You know what I'm saying? But me, if I would be a fan of baseball, right now, I would like to see the guys hitting for power coming in hitting in the Home Run Derby and showing the whole planet why they're hitting for power."
Is Ortiz looking for righties or lefties? Has he studied the tendencies of Chase Field?
"You know what, I'm going to have to use my scouting to figure out who the best of the best can be," Ortiz said with a laugh. "As a group, we're working on donating some money to a foundation, so we've got to go for it."
Ortiz won the Derby last year and has competed in it four times (2004, 2005, 2006, 2010). This year marks the first time that Major League Baseball has chosen captains (Prince Fielder will serve in that capacity for the National League).
Ortiz said MLB approached him with ideas for how to improve the Derby. In previous years, the league has approached players to participate in the event, and over time, many players have resisted, claiming the Home Run Derby has a negative effect on their swing because they fall into bad habits while trying to hit home runs.
"I think it's even better when the player comes and asks you than when MLB comes and asks you," Ortiz said. "There's a better relationship between us as a player than somebody that you don't even know coming from MLB and asking you, 'Hey, can you do this?' It's easier this way.
"I think it's a fun time. It's something that pretty much everybody comes to see. I remember, when I went back to my country after last year's season, man, it was unbelievable how many people came to me and told me how excited the whole country was about the Home Run Derby. It seemed like everything just stopped for the Home Run Derby last year."