Cubs' Jake Arrieta says Home Run Derby would be 'fun experience'

ByJesse Rogers ESPN logo
Monday, June 13, 2016

ATLANTA -- Winning games on the mound isn't enough for Chicago Cubs star Jake Arrieta, who on Saturday echoed San Francisco Giants starter Madison Bumgarner's desire to participate in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game.

"If he's in it, I need to be in it," Arrieta said after earning his 10th win and collecting two hits in Saturday's 8-2 win over the Atlanta Braves. "That's for sure. He can hit the ball a long way, but I can too."

The difference between the two pitchers: Arrieta might be better suited for a pitchers-only derby, whereas Bumgarner wants to join the main event. Either way, Arrieta isn't kidding around. He says participating in a derby would be the greatest "adrenaline rush."

"I think it would be mentally and physically draining but a really fun experience," Arrieta said.

Reminded that he pitched a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium last season, Arrieta didn't waver.

"I still think the adrenaline I would get in a Home Run Derby would be much greater," he said.

St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright also threw his hat in the ring on Sunday:

Cubs manager Joe Maddon on Sunday said an all-pitchers derby "might be more interesting than the regular one" and that he wasn't worried about a pitcher being hurt by participating.

"Everybody is afraid of injuries. Everyone is afraid everyone is going to get hurt every day," Maddon said. "I don't subscribe to that theory and don't worry about it from that perspective."

Arrieta also dismissed any injury concerns Sunday.

"We hit in the cage every day. We hit on the field every day at home," he said. "It's not like we don't swing. What's it going to do, mess up my swing?"

Arrieta owns the longest home run by a pitcher this season at 442 feet. Bumgarner isn't far behind with a 424-foot homer.

Pitchers have hit 11 home runs this season entering Saturday night, including the Brewers' Wily Peralta, who hit a 416-foot shot Saturday afternoon. Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke are also known to swing a big bat, but it's Bumgarner who has the most career home runs of active pitchers with 13. Arrieta has three.

"I said I was going to hit five this year, so I have a ways to go," Arrieta said Saturday. "I think it would be interesting and add another dynamic to the All-Star Game."

Arrieta said he thinks a shorter version of the regular Home Run Derby would work best for the pitchers.

"Why don't you lobby for me to get into Home Run Derby?" he joked with reporters. "There are some guys that can swing it.

"I'd love to hit in it."

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