April 29, 2010 in Sports

Baseball notebook: All-Star game rosters grow

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Designated hitters like Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers will be used in the All-Star game in A.L. and N.L. cities.
(Full-size photo)

By the numbers

.322: Team batting average of the Florida Marlins with runners on base – tops in the majors.

2: Games over .500 for the Washington Nationals. The last time they were two games over this late in a season was Sept. 30, 2005 – their inaugural campaign in Washington.

There will be two extra All-Stars this summer.

Rosters have been expanded again by commissioner Bud Selig’s special committee for on-field matters, with each team bringing 34 players to the July 13 game in Anaheim, Calif.

A pitcher who starts on the final Sunday before the All-Star break will be ineligible to pitch in the All-Star game and will be replaced on the roster, Major League Baseball said in a change announced Wednesday.

In addition, a designated hitter will be used in the All-Star game every year, including in N.L. cities. The DH has been used since 1989 when the All-Star game was played in A.L. ballparks. There would have been a DH anyway for this year’s game.

“The changes are designed to make the All-Star game as competitive a contest as it could possibly be,” said Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president of labor relations.

The players’ association already has approved the changes.

All-Star rosters have steadily expanded. There were 28 players per team from 1969-97, and the size increased to 30 with expansion in 1998.

After the infamous 7-7, 11-inning tie in Milwaukee in 2002, when teams ran out of pitchers, rosters expanded to 32 players, including 12 pitchers, the following year. That was when the game first started counting for World Series home-field advantage.

The size increased to 33 players, including 13 pitchers, last summer, and will now be 34 players, with 13 pitchers per team.

Under a change that runs contrary to normal baseball rules, each manager may designate a position player who will be eligible for re-entry to the game if the final position player – at any position – is injured.

Previously, there was a special All-Star rule allowing re-entry only to replace an injured catcher.

Clearing the bases

Cleveland closer Kerry Wood threw 35 pitches during a bullpen session and is scheduled for another one Friday before the club can determine the next step in his recovery from an upper-back injury that has kept him sidelined since March 10. Wood could be activated in 10-14 days if there are no setbacks. … Minnesota first baseman Justin Morneau did not start against Detroit because of a stiff back. The Twins don’t expect to start Morneau again until Friday in Cleveland. … Oakland LHP Brett Anderson will not throw for two weeks. He has a strained flexor in his pitching arm.

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