,NEW YORK -- Chase Utley may have more regular season home runs than everyone else in New York this week for today's All-Star Game.

But the Phillies second baseman couldn't come close to matching the pure and potent power display of slugger Josh Hamilton in Monday night's Home Run Derby.

The Texas Rangers slugger and former No.1 overall pick of the Tampa Bay, who was out of baseball for four years while be battled drug an alcohol problems, hit 23 more home runs in the first round than Utley.

When his opening act finally came to an end, Hamilton receive a standing ovation and chants of "Hamilton-Hamilton-Hamilton!" from the jam-packed crowd of 53,716 inside Yankee Stadium.

"I just feel blessed to be here," Hamilton said in a TV interview after drilling 28 of the 54 pitches he saw in the first round over the fence.

Hamilton's 28 home runs in the opening round broke former Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu's record of 24. Abreu hit two dozen in the first two rounds of the 2005 derby en route to the crown.

"I thought it was pretty amazing to be honest with you. I've never seen a display like that, ever -- I don't think many people have," Utley said. "It's something we might not ever see again: a guy that is that strong with that pretty of a swing."

Utley, who finished with five home runs, failed in his bid to become the third Phillies player in the last four years to win the derby. After Abreu won in 2005, Ryan Howard homered his way to the crown two years ago in Pittsburgh.

"I didn't get a goose egg, which was nice," Utley said.

Utley is making his third straight start in tonight's game. He will bat second in manager Clint Hurdle's lineup.

During pre-Derby introductions, Utley was booed by the New York crowd.

The Phillies second baseman, who was hooked up to an ESPN microphone, accidentally responded to the Bronx cheer with a few choice words that skipped through the censors.

"I do want to apologize, it was definitely a poor choice of words," Utley said. "And I really didn't mean anything by it, I was just joking around with my buddy over there."

The Phillies have been tied to rumors surrounding Toronto's A.J.

Burnett, among others, as they attempt to upgrade their pitching staff for playoff run.

But Phillies All-Star closer Brad Lidge gave teammate Brett Myers a vote of confidence during a media session Monday.

Lidge said he spoke with the Phillies demoted Opening Day starter recently and feels his team doesn't need to make a big splash before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline.

"I don't think there's anyone out there better than him that we can get if he comes back to full strength," Lidge said. "I think he's as good as anybody that's out there.

"So when people ask me if we're going to make a move -- if we get Brett Myers back, that's as good as anybody."

Before being demoted earlier this month, Myers was 3-9 with a 5.84 in 17 starts with the Phillies. In three starts between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Double-A Reading, Myers is 1-2 with a 3.10 ERA while striking out 22 and walking six in 20 1/3 innings.

"I think he just has to go down there and get better control of his fastball," Lidge said. "When that starts coming along, his confidence will be there and he'll go back to being the Brett Myers of old."

Much of the hype and hoopla over this year's All-Star Game comes from the location -- this is the final year in the storied history of Yankee Stadium.

For many of the game's current stars, it's the first -- or last -- time they'll ever get to hit home runs into the same right field bleachers Babe Ruth sent souvenirs to 80 years ago.

"I think that's what separates baseball from other sport, its ties to our past," Berkman said. "I have a great deal of respect for the game and the history of the game. From that aspect its always nice to say I was there I played on that field."

"It speaks for itself," added Mets closer Billy Wagner. "As a professional athlete, you want

to play in the biggest arena and playing in New York and at Yankee Stadium, it doesn't get any bigger."

When former Phillies manager and current Boston skipper Terry Francona had to choose the starting pitching for tonight's game, the American League said he didn't have a difficult choice.

Francona chose Cleveland's Cliff Lee.

"From the very start of the season to (his start) three days ago, he's been the most outstanding pitcher in the league," Francona said of Lee, who is 12-2 with a 2.31 ERA.

Phillies fans disgruntled with Brett Myers can take solace in Lee's story. Just a year ago, Lee earned a minor league demotion when he had a 6.38 ERA.

He was also left of the Indians postseason roster.

"I got hurt in spring training last year and that had a lot to do with my rough season, but sometimes going through some failure makes you a better player in the long run," Lee said. "That was the case for me. It gave me a little motivation going into the off season to work even harder to make sure I would do everything I could... to get myself a chance to go out there and compete and prove that I can pitch the way I had in the past."

Milwaukee ace Ben Sheets, 10-3 with a 2.85 ERA, will start for the National League.

Hamilton, who leads major league baseball with 95 RBIs this year, didn't bring his team's pitching coach or catching instructor to pitch to him in the home run derby.

Hamilton chose Clay Council, a 71-year-old a volunteer American Legion coach who grew up pitching to Hamilton and his older brother back in North Carolina.

"I said, 'What do you think about throwing batting practice in Yankee Stadium,'" Hamilton recalled. "He said, 'Oh, man, that would be great.'

"I said, 'You going to tighten up on me?'

"He said, 'No, but I might have a heart attack.'"

J.D. Boo: Boston Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew is celebrating his first All-Star game tonight. Even though he's in his 11th big league season, Drew still can't go anywhere without someone asking him about Philadelphia.

Drew, the Phillies top pick in the 1997 First-Year Player draft, infamously shunned Philadelphia and went back into the draft pool for 1998.

This past week, Drew's younger brother, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen, visited Citizens Bank Park.

"Mike Lowell was checking some scores and I told him to check out Arizona," J.D. Drew said. "And I said, 'At least he got a couple of hits against those guys in Philly -- I can guarantee you he's getting booed just as loudly as I am, having the same last name.'"

Stephen Drew was booed. As was J.D., by a healthy heaping of Yankees faithful, when he was announced taking batting practice Monday at Yankee Stadium.

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