Fresno Grizzlies' Monell Set For AAA Home Run Derby

July 10, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fresno Grizzlies catcher Johnny Monell swears there's no pressure on him to represent in next week's AAA Home Run Derby in Reno.

"I'm definitely going into it trying to win it," said Monell. "But also it's an All-Star festivity, and I'm appreciating being a part of it."

That's a good answer, because his teammates are already giving him some good natured ribbing.

"You'd better not come back with zero," Monell answered when asked what he's heard from teammates. "You'd better at least hit one. I'm definitely trying to get one on the board and keep it going from there, and try to win it."

Third baseman Chris Dominguez won a Home Run Derby when he was playing in the Single-A contest a few years ago.

"I was just trying to hit the ball hard and have a lot of fun with it," said Dominguez. "I think that's the most important thing: trying to get the first one, and then after you get the first one out of the way just have fun."

According to Dominguez, it's true: Chicks really do dig the long ball.

"Absolutely!," said Dominguez. "Absolutely. They definitely dig the long ball."

"I don't know," admitted Monell. "I know chicks dig diamonds and this is one diamond that I love playing on. But I don't know."

And in Dominguez's expert opinion, therein lies the pressure for Monell to perform.

"We're saying he has to practice every round here," joked Dominguez. "I was like, 'Man, luckily you can hit the long ball because you're ugly.' I told him."

"He's lucky he's not here right now, because I would definitely be getting on him," Monell joked right back. "He's definitely the ugliest guy on the team."

All jokes aside, Monell has a few things going for him next week: A stiff breeze blowing out to right at Aces Ballpark, and his regular batting practice pitcher going with him.

"He knows he doesn't have to swing as hard as he can to get it out there, which makes it a little bit easier," said Grizzlies Pitching Coach Pat Rice, who will pitch to Monell in the Home Run Derby. "He doesn't feel like he's got to 100% swing every time."

"It'll be fun," said Monell. "It'll just be more relaxing having a guy with me who knows where I like the ball. I told him where I like it."

Just get the first one, and he should be just fine.


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