ANAHEIM -- Budding Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo won't pitch in this year's All-Star Game because of injury. He won't pitch in next year's All-Star Game -- even if he's asked -- because of politics. Gallardo told The Associated Press on Monday that he would skip the 2011 event in Phoenix to protest Arizona's strict new immigration law, joining other Latino players who have spoken out against the legislation. "If the game is in Arizona, I will totally boycott," Gallardo told The AP during a media availability session on Monday morning.
Gallardo, born in Mexico but raised in Fort Worth, Texas, was one of a number of Latino players surveyed by The AP about next year's All-Star Game at Chase Field. Relievers Joakim Soria of the Royals and Jose Valverde of the Tigers said they would join a boycott of the event. "To me, it's the stupidest thing you can ever have," Valverde said. "Nothing against Americans, but us Latinos have contributed so much to this country. ... We're the ones out there cleaning the streets. Americans don't want to do that stuff. "They say it's about this, that or the other. But it's all about getting Latinos out of this country. We're just here to help our people. Whether it's Mexico, Dominican, Cuba, we're just trying to help our families. As a public figure and with the heart I have, this affects me a lot. Because they're not thinking about the children this effects. We've accomplished our goals. But what about the young kids who have only been here for a year or for months? They're unable to make their way in the world." Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols also said he opposed the law, which goes into effect July 29 and requires police to demand proof of a person's immigration status if there is reason to suspect he is in the U.S. illegally. Others deferred giving an answer to The AP's question. "It's a really delicate issue," Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista said. "Hopefully, there are some changes in the law before then. We have to back up our Latin communities. If I do get chosen, I don't know what I'm going to do." Commissioner Bud Selig has not commented on the measure. The statute requires police, while enforcing other laws, to ask about a person's immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally. "They could stop me and ask to see my papers," Soria said. "I have to stand with my Latin community on this."