PHOENIX (AP) — Baseball could field an All-Star team just from the players who will be missing from Tuesday’s game.
Philadelphia third baseman Placido Polanco and Tampa Bay pitcher David Price became the latest stars to withdraw, and six starting pitchers were declared ineligible because they played Sunday.
Polanco missed the Phillies’ final six games heading into the All-Star break because of a bad back. Major League Baseball cited turf toe as the reason for Price’s withdrawal.
“He’s been battling a toe problem that’s been exacerbated the last couple of days, so going into the break, we wanted to make sure he would not aggravate (it) any more by pitching on Tuesday,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We really haven’t decided if he’ll pitch Friday or Saturday.”
Sixteen All-Stars won’t appear in the game, including 13 of the 68 originally chosen. The missing include the Yankees’ trio of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera. Rodriguez will have right knee surgery Monday and be sidelined four to six weeks.
The Yankees’ CC Sabathia, the Rays’ James Shields, the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander, the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, the Philadelphia Phillies’ Cole Hamels and the San Francisco Giants’ Matt Cain all were knocked out because of their starts. Sabathia had been bypassed when rosters were announced a week ago, but replaced Shields when the Tampa Bay pitcher appeared Sunday.
Added as All-Stars Sunday were the Yankees’ David Robertson, the Texas Rangers’ Alexi Ogando, the Seattle Mariners’ Michael Pineda, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Ricky Romero, the Arizona Diamonbacks’ Miguel Montero, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Kevin Correia and the Atlanta Braves’ Craig Kimbrel.
Boston’s Jon Lester had been in line to replace Hernandez and became an All-Star on Sunday, but he will miss the game because of a strained back muscle that landed him on the disabled list.
Montero will get to appear before his hometown fans at Chase Field.
“I felt like when I got called up (from the minors),” he said. “I wanted to cry, I was so excited. It’s a great moment. It’s going to pretty special, especially because it’s going to be at home.”
Cincinnati’s Scott Rolen will start at third for the NL in place of Polanco. Rolen was added to the roster Saturday when Atlanta’s Chipper Jones withdrew.
San Francisco infielder Pablo Sandoval replaced the Mets’ Jose Reyes, on the DL with a hamstring injury. The All-Star selection was validation for Sandoval, who lost nearly 40 pounds this offseason after he struggled with his weight and hitting in 2010.
“That was one of the goals we were talking about when I was working out,” Sandoval said. “We talked about All-Star game and MVP.”
Sandoval just missed out on the All-Star game in 2009 despite having a .333 average with 15 homers and 55 RBIs at the break. Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel picked his own player, Shane Victorino, instead of Sandoval that year. With San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy making picks, Sandoval got his chance despite missing 40 games with an injured right wrist.
“It was a couple of years ago where he had the numbers to go and it didn’t quite happen for him,” Bochy said. “I couldn’t feel better to tell someone they were going to the All-Star game. … I really wanted to get him on the club. With what happened, it just made sense. His numbers are deserving to be on the All-Star team.”
Robertson will be joined on the AL by Yankees teammates Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano and Russell Martin.
“I was just going to go to Connecticut with the wife, maybe go fishing,” Robertson said. “I’m just happy to go.”
Sabathia didn’t fret over not going to Phoenix with his pinstriped mates.
“I’ve seen these guys every day since February. I’ll see them on Thursday,” he said.
Ogando, 9-3 with a 2.92 ERA, will be making his first All-Star appearance. He will be joined by Rangers teammates Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, C.J. Wilson and Michael Young.
Romero learned of his selection after throwing a late-inning bullpen session and returning to the dugout in Cleveland.
“It’s very exciting,” Romero said. “I’m at a loss for words right now. My family’s excited that I’m representing East Los Angeles (where he lives) and most importantly, the country of Canada.”