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Winker pumps homers, bumps Foster

Reds prospect helps East win MWL All-Star Home Run Derby
June 18, 2013

DAYTON, Ohio -- Jesse Winker of the Dayton Dragons bumped fists with former Cincinnati Reds great George Foster, then went out and won Tuesday night's Home Run Derby contest prior to the Midwest League All-Star Game at Fifth Third Field.

His Eastern squad also went on to win the game, 6-5.

With six home runs in the first round and four more in the second, Winker put himself in good company with another top hitter. Twins' star Justin Morneau won the 2001 Home Run Derby at Fifth Third Field.

Actually, it wasn't an individual victory, as Winker's total was added to that of South Bend's Brandon Drury (five) and Dayton Little Leaguer Ethan Tedder for a team total that topped the West's squad with Kane County's Rock Shoulders (four), Beloit's Renato Nunez (four) and Little Leaguer Devin Dudley.

Winker said Foster told him, "Just relax and that's just what I did."

The 19-year-old, in his first full season in the Reds' organization, plays left field -- the same position once patrolled by Foster. In the first half of the season, Winker hit .291 with nine homers.

The Little Leaguers aimed for a closer, temporary fence during Tuesday's competition.

Fort Wayne's Luis Tejada, watching from the sidelines, took Winker a cup of water during the first round to cool him off. Tejada was a reserve infielder for the East team.

Standing on ceremony: Foster also handed out trophies at the event, while former Reds second baseman and Hall of Famer Joe Morgan threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Buzzing about Buxton: One of the highest-profile players in the contest was Cedar Rapids outfielder Byron Buxton, the second overall selection of the Twins in the 2012 Draft.

Buxton entered the break hitting .344 with eight homers, 52 RBIs and 29 stolen bases. He also scored 65 times, 16 more than any other player in the league.

In the game, Buxton flew out three times. Winker went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, one of them called.

Glittering array of alumni: Plenty of eventual Major League All-Stars have participated in the Midwest League's midsummer classic, including Albert Pujols, Joe Mauer, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto and Adam Dunn. In the past, since stars as Goose Gossage, Carlton Fisk, Vida Blue, Gary Gaetti, Dan Quisenberry and Dave Stewart participated.

Correa collects a pair: Shortstop Carlos Correa of Quad Cities singled to center in the third inning and then to short in the fifth for the West Stars. The Astros made him the No. 1 overall pick in the Draft last year.

Correa hit .304 with 44 RBIs in the first half of the season.

Stephenson gets props: Robert Stephenson would have started the game, but was pulled from the roster because of a sore hamstring. The Reds' first-round pick in the 2011 Draft went 5-3 with a 2.97 ERA for the Dragons in the first half.

In his last six starts, he was 4-0 with an 0.93 ERA. He struck out 85 while walking only 17 in 66 2/3 innings.

Even though he couldn't play, Stephenson dressed for the game and was introduced to the home crowd.

Marc Katz is a contributor to