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Associated Press, Published July 08 2009

Minnesota first baseman Justin Morneau skipping home run derby

MINNEAPOLIS – There will be a new champion crowned at the home run derby this year.

Minnesota Twins slugger Justin Morneau says he has declined an invitation to participate in the popular All-Star Game event, which will be held Monday in St. Louis. He says he wants to rest and would prefer to watch.

Morneau won last year’s competition at Yankee Stadium, but that was overshadowed by Josh Hamilton’s record 28 homers in the first round. The Rangers’ outfielder tired as the event dragged on and Morneau outlasted him 5-3 in the finals.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire says he is happy to hear Morneau will be sitting this one out.

Hamilton isn’t going to participate, either, at the request of his manager.