NEW YORK -- Robinson Cano was understated about his picks for his American League Home Run Derby team.
"I think it's good," he said before Tuesday's game against the Royals, before he elaborated on the process of selecting his team that will compete in Monday's Home Run Derby across town at Citi Field.
"It's hard to pick guys because there's a lot of good guys out there that should be in the Derby, but you only get to pick three," Cano said. "So what you do is you try to do the best and pick the guys that are going to help you."
Cano selected the Tigers' Prince Fielder and the Orioles' Chris Davis to help him represent the AL on Monday -- "That was an easy choice," Cano said of the Baltimore slugger. "He said yes right away." -- before naming Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to his final spot on Tuesday.
"You never know who's going to say yes, who's going to say no," Cano said. "There's guys that you ask and some guys don't want to do it.
"You have to understand it's something -- you don't want to do it if you don't want to."
It's a different situation for Cano than the one he encountered a year ago, when he left Royals first baseman Billy Butler off the team in Kansas City, then was showered with boos by Royals fans as he didn't homer in the Derby.
He likened it to playing the lottery. Everything is about assembling a team with the best odds to win, and that usually means choosing the players with the best numbers. This year, without being saddled with the pressure of choosing a hometown representative, he was uninhibited in that process.
"It's like you play lottery, you pick who you think is going to come out," Cano said. "It's the same thing now. You pick three guys who you think are going to help you to win it."
David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.