Uncertain of whether he will play before the All-Star break, Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier declined an invitation from teammate Matt Kemp to participate in the Home Run Derby during All-Star week.

Ethier has sat out the Dodgers' last four games because of a strained muscle in the left rib cage.

"It's just a smart move," said Ethier, who wasn't selected for the National League All-Star team.

Ethier said that his main priority is to be ready for the start of the second half of the season, by which time Kemp, second baseman Mark Ellis and reliever Javy Guerra are also expected back.

"The most important thing is that I'm definitely a part of that," he said.

As captain of the NL Home Run Derby team, Kemp selected the league's three other contestants. Kemp extended an invitation to Ethier, who said he was planning to participate until he was injured Wednesday in San Francisco.

"I think his kids would enjoy watching their dad hit in the Home Run Derby," Kemp said. "The kids enjoy it the most. I'm pretty disappointed he can't participate in it. But hopefully next year."