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Hanley Ramirez Might Opt Out of Home Run Derby; Burke Badenhop Weighs in on LeBron James

    Concerned that his swing could be thrown out of kilter, Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez said he'll wait until Saturday before deciding whether he'll participate in the Home Run Derby on Monday of All-Star week. Major League Baseball issued a press release on Thursday saying Ramirez would take part in the annual Derby, but the shortstop said he hasn't decided for sure whether he'll participate.

   "I want to do it, but I don't know," Ramirez said. "I've never done that and I don't know how I would feel after. I'm just worried about how my bat is going to feel after. I'm just thinking about the team. I've got to be there in the second half."

  Ramirez said he initially refused the invitation to participate when the league extended the invitation to him on Wednesday, but later agreed, albeit reluctantly.

   "Everybody was saying why are you not doing it?" Ramirez said of teammates, who encouraged him to participate.

  Asked what he thought his chances were of participating in the Derby, Ramirez replied "50-50."

   Manager Edwin Rodriguez said he isn't concerned that the competition will throw Ramirez's swing out of whack, as it has some. Dan Uggla went into a power decline in 2008 after he took part in the Home Run Derby, going from 23 home runs and a .288 average in 81 games before the break to just nine home runs and a .226 average after it.

   Rodriguez said Ramirez is a different type of hitter.

    "He's a guy, he can make adjustments," Rodriguez said. "He's a guy who will be out there trying to hit the ball out and two days later, he can go back and stay gap to gap. I don't think it'll mess up his swing. He'll be fine."

    If Ramirez takes part, he'll join a roster that already includes Corey Hart, Matt Holliday, Miguel Cabrera, David Ortiz and Vernon Wells. Two more players have yet to be chosen to round out the field of eight.

  PAULINO SITS......Catcher Ronny Paulino wasn't in the starting lineup on Thursday for the second time in a week. Rodriguez said he felt that Paulino's swing has been "dragging."

  "I think he's a little bit tired," Rodriguez said. "And, besides, he took a beating last night. He got hit twice last night on foul tips, so I have him the day off today. He's going to be out there most of the time. But I just want to give him a break."

 Paulino is 1 for his last 18 at the plate. Brett Hayes will be behind the plate for the series opener tonight in Phoenix.

  As for catcher John Baker, it appears he won't be available to the Marlins anytime as he continues to go slowly in his comeback from a right forearm strain. Rodridguez said he his working out in Jupiter but has not been swinging or throwing.

  "He's just conditioning, more blocking, more receiving," Rodriguez said.

  FELLOW OHIOAN BURKE BADENHOP TALKS LEBRON....... Burke Badenhop, who hails from northwest Ohio near the Toledo area, said that if LeBron James bolts Cleveland for the Miami Heat (or any other NBA team), "it would be like Arizona losing the Grand Canyon. There's not a landmarks in Ohio -- you know, Lake Erie, Ohio Stadium. And then there's LeBron James, I guess."

 Badenhop was quite the basketball player high school player in his own right and was an Ohio prepster at the same time James was across the state in Akron, at least for one year.

 "I never won Ohio Basketball Player of the Year because he kept winning it," Badenhop said, joking. "He's two years younger than me. I don't know if I was a close second, but he kept winning it. I was second team All-District. We can play H-O-R-S-E or something if he comes to Miami."

LINEUPS:

Marlins: 1. Coghlan, lf; 2. G. Sanchez, 1b; 3. Ramirez, ss; 4. Cantu, 3b; 5. Uggla, 2b; 6. Ross, cf; 7. Stanton, rf; 8. Hayes, c; 9. A. Sanchez, p.

Diamondbacks: 1. Drew, ss; 2. Johnson, 2b; 3. Upton, rf; 4. LaRoche, 1b; 5. Reynolds, 3b; 6. Parra, lf; 7. Snyder, c; 8. Gillespie, cf; 9. Lopez, p.

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