Washington confident his crew can stop NL win streak
By T.R. Sullivan
ARLINGTON -- American League manager Ron Washington believes he has a team that can snap a two-game losing streak.
"I feel really good about this team," Washington said. "I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that between now and the end of the first half, we can stay healthy. I want to go to Kansas City as strong as I possibly can. You never know when injuries will come into play, but once we get to Kansas City, we can just go out and play baseball."
The AL All-Star team was announced on Sunday, and both the Rangers and Yankees will have three players in the starting lineup. The Rangers will be represented by outfielder Josh Hamilton, third baseman Adrian Beltre and catcher Mike Napoli, and the Yankees will have shortstop Derek Jeter, second baseman Robinson Cano and outfielder Curtis Granderson.
American League roster
Mike Napoli, TEX
Prince Fielder, DET
Robinson Cano, NYY
Adrian Beltre, TEX
Derek Jeter, NYY
Josh Hamilton, TEX
Curtis Granderson, NYY
Jose Bautista, TOR
David Ortiz, BOS
Ryan Cook, OAK
Matt Harrison, TEX
Felix Hernandez, SEA
Jim Johnson, BAL
Joe Nathan, TEX
Chris Perez, CLE
David Price, TB
Fernando Rodney, TB
CC Sabathia, NYY
Chris Sale, CWS
Justin Verlander, DET
Jered Weaver, LAA
C.J. Wilson, LAA
Joe Mauer, MIN
Matt Wieters, BAL
Elvis Andrus, TEX
Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
Miguel Cabrera, DET
Ian Kinsler, TEX
Paul Konerko, CWS
Adam Jones, BAL
Mike Trout, LAA
Mark Trumbo, LAA
Billy Butler, KC
Adam Dunn, CWS
Boston designated hitter David Ortiz, Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder and Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista will round out the starting lineup.
The players voted in as reserves include catcher Matt Wieters, first baseman Paul Konerko, second baseman Ian Kinsler, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and third baseman Miguel Cabrera. Their designated hitter is Adam Dunn, and the three outfielders are Adam Jones, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo. Washington rounded out his bench by picking shortstop Elvis Andrus, catcher Joe Mauer and DH Billy Butler.
Butler has the honor of representing the hometown Royals as their only All-Star selection, although reliever Jonathan Broxton is a candidate for the Final Vote.
"Butler is having an outstanding year in Kansas City," Washington said. "I felt like he was deserving and gives us a bat off the bench."
Mauer was selected as the Twins' representative because Washington wanted a third catcher. Washington was disappointed that he wasn't able to take White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
The players also selected five starters and three relievers. The starters are right-handers Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver, and left-handers CC Sabathia, Chris Sale and David Price. Because Sabathia is on the disabled list with a strained left groin, he was replaced by C.J. Wilson. Washington also selected left-hander Matt Harrison and right-hander Felix Hernandez.
Hernandez is scheduled to pitch on Sunday, but under the new rules, he has the option of still pitching in the All-Star Game, which he wants to do. Sale could be in the same situation and has also indicated that he wants to pitch.
"Last year I didn't get to pitch," Hernandez said. "I think this year I will be able to pitch, and that will be awesome. The first time I was there, [in 2009], I only threw seven pitches, and it was so short."
The three relievers selected by the players are Jim Johnson, Fernando Rodney and Chris Perez. Washington supplemented the bullpen by adding Joe Nathan and Ryan Cook. Missing is Mariano Rivera, who is out for the season after undergoing surgery on his right knee.
Rivera has four career saves in the All-Star Game. Nathan, who is returning to the Midsummer Classic for a fifth time after missing all of 2010 because of Tommy John surgery, is the leading candidate to close.
"I have an idea of who I will use, but I'm not ready to reveal it," Washington said. "I have some quality options, we'll just see how the game flows."
Also missing from the squad are Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki. The three have a combined 33 All-Star appearances, but all will be sitting this one out.
The Rangers have seven players on the team, the most in club history, including the three added by Washington. The Yankees and the Angels each have four.
"It's a case of rewarding [players who] had an outstanding year," Washington said. "It certainly wasn't choices that I made because of them being on my team. Those are choices I made because they deserved it."
The National League has won two straight All-Star Games. Prior to that the AL had won seven straight, a winning streak that began at the same time the game was used to determine home-field advantage in the World Series.
The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 7:30 p.m. (ET)/6:30 p.m. (CT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.