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WSI News - News Watch

Konerko in Home Run Derby?

Paul Konerko's recent home run barrage 12 in June has put him among the league leaders in that category.

If, as expected, Konerko is named Sunday night as an American League reserve to the All-Star Game, he may be one of the four American League hitters asked to participate in the home run contest. The competition is held the day before the midsummer classic in Milwaukee's Miller Park.

Konerko came into Saturday's game fourth in AL homers with 20, trailing Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome and Jason Giambi. Major League Baseball usually invites the top three players in the home run standings of each league, plus one wild-card entry from each league.

Konerko likely will get one of those spots if he's selected to the AL squad by manager Joe Torre.

Frank Thomas has participated in home run contests at All-Star Games and knows it can affect a hitter's swing when he comes back from the break.

"I've told Paulie that," Thomas said. "He's never been a big home run hitter in batting practice. He's more of a line-drive hitter. He might have to do it, but the streak he's on, he's not just hitting home runs. He's hitting line drives.

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