2013 All-Star Game
When: Today, 8 p.m.
Where: Citi Field
NL — Matt Harvey, RHP
AL — Max Scherzer, RHP
ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves looked like a first-half power but resembled a split-squad, spring training team in their final game before the All-Star break.
Freddie Freeman was held out of the Braves' 8-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday because of a jammed left thumb that will prevent him from playing in the All-Star game today. The Braves also lost outfielders Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and B.J. Upton during the series.
McCann gets the call, still no Puig
National League manager Bruce Bochy selected Sergio Romo, his San Francisco Giants closer, as a replacement pick along with Atlanta catcher Brian McCann. St. Louis closer Edward Mujica was chosen to fill in for teammate Adam Wainwright, who started Sunday night.
Under baseball's labor contract, pitchers who start on the Sunday before the All-Star game may opt not to participate.
Despite four changes to the NL team, only one position player pulled out Sunday and Yasiel Puig was not picked as the replacement. Though he's spent just six weeks in the majors, Puig has been so successful and exciting that some clamored for his inclusion, sparking a heated debate about whether that would be fair.
The rookie sensation from the Los Angeles Dodgers was left out again after a string of substitutes were added to the National League roster Sunday. But this time, fans were not responsible. Instead, it sounds as though Puig's ailing hip settled baseball's big debate.
"If a guy is hurt, it doesn't make sense for him to go," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
"That's just like, video game"
Miguel Cabrera has the kind of numbers that draw attention from fans.
It's the same reaction from his peers, too.
"That's just like, video game, and let's just go out and have some fun and smile and laugh when we strike out," Washington slugger Bryce Harper said. "It's just, Miggy is going up there and ... going 'Hey, if I don't hit a homer, I shouldn't be playing today.'"
Cabrera hit .330 with 44 homers and 139 RBIs last season, winning the AL Triple Crown. The third baseman is hitting .365 with 30 homers and 95 RBIs at the All-Star break this year. That's an impressive full season for almost any player. Let alone a first half.
Not that he's all that impressed with any of it.
"There isn't a lot of time to see that," he said. "Maybe if I see it in the game, you know how they put it on the scoreboard? So I think that's the only chance we got time to see it. Because you got to worry about other stuff, why are you going to worry about the stats?"
Harp on this
Bryce Harper had his name misstated in a pregame news conference — NL manager Bruce Bochy called him "Bryan" before correcting himself immediately — and was slotted in the 9th spot in the order.
Welcome to the All-Star game, kid.
The second-year Washington Nationals outfielder said he's never batted ninth before in his life.
"That's usually for the pitcher. I don't think I'm pitching tomorrow," Harper said. "You know, we've got a great lineup one through nine. It's pretty tough to get in that lineup, so I'm just very excited and blessed to be able to start and I'm so thankful for it."
For relaxing times...
Adam Wainwright pitched on Sunday, so he's unavailable for Tuesday's All-Star game.
The St. Louis starter is set to make the most of his time off, anyway.
"It's going to be amazing for me. I would love to pitch in the game, obviously, but also right now this break is perfect timing for me," Wainwright said. "I brought my tennis shoes, my shagging glove, and if I had a hammock, you know, that'd be the thing that would put it over the top."
A TV crew from MLB UK was going around and presenting players with a cricket ball, then asking if they knew what to do with it. Cleveland's Justin Masterson, who was born in Jamaica, pantomimed a respectable overhand bowling motion. But Toronto's Brett Cecil tried to grip the seams and pronounced them uncomfortable. He noted that "Actually, Adam Lind is a big fan of it. I don't know why."