Unsung hurlers serve up Derby homers
Abreu, Rodriguez credit BP pitchers with their success
DETROIT -- Here's to you, Mr. CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby batting-practice pitchers. You're the real men of genius in this yearly celebration of the long ball.This was proven Monday night in the 2005 renewal of the nation's biggest crushing contest, when the hurlers very quietly became the story once again. Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu redefined the Derby, jacking a record 24 homers in the first round, six in the second, and 11 in the final to beat hometown hero Ivan Rodriguez of the Detroit Tigers and take home the title. But Abreu was quick to note that he wouldn't have had a chance without the superb work of Ramon Henderson, the Phillies' bullpen coach who laid fat 60 mph grapefruits right down the middle and painted the inside corner -- Abreu's happy zone -- throw after throw. Usually, the Derby pitchers serve up all the taters and get none of the ketchup, but that might be changing. "Ramon is big right now," Abreu said. "He's gonna get huge. I've been with him since 1998 and he's one of the good guys." He's also one of the hard-working guys. As tired as Abreu seemed from launching ball after ball into the Motor City night, Henderson looked even more gassed. He most certainly was not on a pitch count. Abreu's record-setting homer came on Henderson's 62nd pitch in a 68-pitch first round. By the time Abreu was gingerly hoisting the trophy, Henderson's right elbow was on ice from an outing that lasted 155 pitches. And that didn't even include the heavy lifting the pair did in the cage between sessions. Henderson was pretty sure he chucked well over 200 baseballs Monday night. "I didn't care how many pitches I threw," Henderson said. "I know I'm going to be sore tomorrow, but Bobby was in a groove." Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins sat through every pitch of his teammate's amazing performance and said he had an idea of how sore Henderson was.
Player & Total
|Bobby Abreu||41||56K | 350K||
Complete Coverage >
|Ivan Rodriguez||20||56K | 350K|
|David Ortiz||20||56K | 350K|
|Carlos Lee||15||56K | 350K|
|Hee-Seop Choi||5||56K | 350K|
|Andruw Jones||5||56K | 350K|
|Mark Teixeira||2||56K | 350K|
|Jason Bay||0||56K | 350K|
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.