The Orioles' Chris Davis headed into the All-Star break with 37 home runs, tying Mark McGwire and Reggie Jackson for the second-highest total for a first half (Davis had the benefit of 95 games). Barry Bonds holds the record with 39, which he did in 81 games in 2001.
Just being mentioned in the same breath as Bonds and McGwire brings to mind more than prodigious power displays, however. It also comes with whispers of PED usage, something that Davis vehemently denies but continues to hear.
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His agent, Scott Boras, stood up for Davis Monday. Is Boras disappointed that a jaded public doesn't talk about a Davis watch the way they did during the McGwire-Sammy Sosa chase of Roger Maris in 1998?
"I think the evolution of success in baseball, where you are separated from others by performance, power has now got an asterisk next to it," Boras said. "That aspect will be that way until we talk about it more.
"It's part of being a superstar. So with the benefits of superstardom come the inquiries."
Davis had eight homers in the first round and four in the second in Monday night's Home Run Derby.
Starting AL shortstop J.J. Hardy was asked if it's weird to have an All-Star Game without Derek Jeter. "He's someone that I've always looked up to," Hardy said. "And even playing against him, I still think he's great . . . He gets well-deserved respect throughout the league. Every player respects him. He's kind of the face of baseball."
Dustin Pedroia paid about the highest compliment one player can give another when he talked about Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera. "Put it this way," he said. "If we had an off day in Detroit and they were playing, I'd go pay to watch him play.''
Sheffield the agent
Former Yankee Gary Sheffield made quite an impression on Pirates closer Jason Grilli when the two were teammates in Detroit in 2007-08. Grilli eventually hired him as his agent.
"He's a great man all the way around," Grilli said. "I know what I'm going to get out of him as far as his personality and his business sense . . . People may read him the wrong way. I don't know how he's dealt with you [the media] but he's an awesome guy. A great friend, a good teammate. I'm appreciative of him being a great agent for me."