ANAHEIM, Calif. – Michael Pineda telephoned his mother in the Dominican Republic on Saturday night with some exciting news.
There was a chance, he told her, that he could be named to the American League All-Star team as a replacement pitcher.
“She said, ‘Hey, wow! I’m so proud of you,’ ” Pineda said Sunday.
But now, she’ll be bursting at the seams with pride because Pineda, 22, has indeed been added to the All-Star game on Tuesday in Phoenix as a replacement for Justin Verlander. Pineda received the news just before Sunday’s game against the Angels and had not yet had a chance to tell his family back home.
“I feel real good,” he said.
Pineda had been somewhat depressed after getting knocked around for five innings by the Angels on Saturday night. But the rookie cheered up a bit on the way back to the team hotel, when a coach told him of his strong chance to be added to a Midsummer Classic he remembers watching as a boy in his Dominican home.
Mariners bullpen coach Jaime Navarro, a longtime Pineda confidant, will probably attend the game with him. Felix Hernandez will also be there – along with Brandon League – but he can’t pitch because he made a start Sunday and major league rules prevent pitchers from participating if they’ve thrown that close to the date of the game.
Another 3-ball walk
For the second time in eight days, the Mariners saw an opposing hitter awarded a walk on a three-ball count. This time though, Mariners manager Eric Wedge insisted he was aware of it in the dugout, but chose to say nothing.
Angels slugger Bobby Abreu was awarded the third-inning walk, the 1,400th of his career, by plate umpire Gerry Davis despite the fact the count was only 3-1. Wedge figured that, with speedy Torii Hunter already on first base and a chance for a hit-and-run through an open right side with a 3-1 count, he’d be better off having Felix Hernandez take his chances with Vernon Wells.
Even if it meant putting two on with one out.
“I was fine him not being up there 3-1,” Wedge said of Abreu. “With those next two guys coming up, I felt good about Felix facing those next two guys.”
Wells struck out and Howie Kendrick flied out.