July 05, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez says criticism by Tampa Bay's Logan Morrison for his Home Run Derby invitation is misplaced.

Morrison told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday that Sanchez is a great player, but he shouldn't be in the derby.

Sanchez, who missed 21 games between April 8 and May 5 because of a strained right biceps, is hitting .294 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs in 53 games. Morrison is tied for third in the major leagues with 24 homers. He is batting .256 with 57 RBIs.

''That's something that I have no control of,'' Sanchez said Wednesday through a translator. ''They gave me a call, basically gave me an invitation, invited me to participate, and I told them, well, I don't even know if I'm making the All-Star Game, so I don't know if I will have the opportunity to attend the derby. Now, if I make the All-Star Game, then for sure, I'll do it. It's an honor to participate in the event. It's not my fault he didn't get selected.''

Morrison said Wednesday that his comments weren't about Sanchez.

''People can read it and say he's jealous of Gary because he got picked, but it's not about that,'' Morrison said before Tampa Bay's game in Chicago against the Cubs. ''Eric Thames got slighted, too. How is that guy not in the Home Run Derby for the National League? It's a flawed system.''

Thames, one of baseball's biggest surprises this season, is batting .248 with 23 homers and 43 RBIs for NL Central-leading Milwaukee.

A first-time All-Star, Sanchez is in the July 10 derby at Miami along with Yankees teammate Aaron Judge, Kansas City's Mike Moustakas, Minnesota's Miguel Sano, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger, Colorado's Charlie Blackmon and Marlins teammates Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Bour.

''If I got asked and I had 13 homers, I'd say, `Hell yes.' It's not his fault,'' Morrison said of Sanchez.

Morrison is among five candidates in fan voting for the final spot on the AL roster, competing with Texas' Elvis Andrus, Boston's Xander Bogaerts, the Yankees' Didi Gregorius and Moustakas.

''It's par for the course. I play for the Rays. I get it,'' Morrison told the newspaper. ''They can't even get my picture right. When they put my name up there they put Corey (Dickerson's) picture up there ... on MLB Network. When they put up the home run leaders they put Corey's swing on there not mine.''

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