NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is taking some lumps for skipping the 2011 All-Star game to rest a sore calf that’s been called a questionable escape clause since he was well enough to play in his quest to reach 3,000 hits.
“I think it’s too bad that Jeter in particular is not here, because of what he accomplished over the weekend,” Philadelphia Phillies chairman Bill Giles, the honorary NL president, said at a Monday news conference, “and I think it is a bit of a problem and baseball should study it.”
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Jeter is suffering from “emotional and physical exhaustion” due to his pursuit of the milestone.
“I do believe, as a ballplayer, if you have no injuries, you should be here,” said Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran. “The fans are the ones that vote for you and want to see you here.”
Much has been made of the big names absent from this year’s game, yet some who are hurt came anyway to show their support.
Take Jose Reyes of the Mets, who says he has been hurt three of the four times he has made the All-Star team, but has come to the game each time. Or Philadelphia’s Shane Victorino. He withdrew because of injury but felt a special obligation to show up because he was the final player chosen for the NL team out five in an online vote by fans.
Several other All-Star selections who won’t play made the trip, some of them injured, some ineligible because they pitched on Sunday.
But some of the biggest names are no-shows, most notably the Yankees’ captain, who was well enough to go 5 for 5 and get his 3,000th hit with a dramatic home run on Saturday. Jeter decided not to make the cross-country trip to the desert.
“Derek Jeter… get your (butt) to the All-Star game,” WFAN’s Craig Carton said Tuesday morning. “End of conversation.”
Boston’s David Ortiz said people should cut Jeter some slack.
“He always said yes to the All-Star game,” the Boston slugger said of his Yankees rival. “I think he has the right to, whenever he needs a break you know, to pull himself together, especially coming off an injury. I think people need to respect that.”
Oakland Athletics left-hander Gio Gonzalez, making his first All-Star appearance, also thinks everyone should back off the Yankees’ captain.
“The guy just got his 3,00th hit, so give him a break, seriously,” Gonzalez said. “He’s coming off the DL, played a bunch of games, he deserves a little bit of rest to get his body right and I think everybody should respect that.”
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera also skipped the game because of a triceps injury. But Reyes didn’t let a hamstring injury prevent him from coming to Arizona to at least witness the festivities.
“Every time I’ve had the opportunity to come here I’m going to come, no matter what happens,” Reyes said. “Like I said, three of the last four years in the All-Star game I’ve been injured, but I still come here.”
Victorino sprained a ligament in his right thumb on July 4 and went on the 15-day DL last week, just as fans were making him their choice out of the final five listed to make the NL squad.
“My trainers and I talked about staying in Philly and getting my finger better and trying to get back healthy,” Victorino said, “but I’m like ‘Well, I can do the same things here that I can do in Philly so I’d like to come and be with my teammates, being around players that are deserving. One, I got voted in and I want to tip my hat to the fans and say thank you and represent the National League.”
But he said each situation is different. Alex Rodriguez just had arthroscopic knee surgery, so obviously he can’t come.
“Derek Jeter just got 3,000 hits. I’m sure he has a lot on his plate,” Victorino said.
Matt Holliday, an NL starter, said he would never miss the game.
“Even if I was hurting, I would come,” he said, “just to be a part of the experience.”
Should Jeter be there? Sound off in the comments below…
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