July 12, 2011 in Sports

The chosen ones

Halladay, Weaver named All-Star game starters
Associated Press photo

Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay will become the fourth pitcher to start an All-Star game for both the A.L. and the N.L.
(Full-size photo)

Pitching has again become the dominant force in baseball over the past couple of years, the hitters not standing much of a chance against all those arms.

With so many good pitchers out there, the managers for today’s All-Star game almost couldn’t go wrong.

They certainly won’t get many complaints for choosing Philadelphia Phillies ace of aces Roy Halladay and Los Angeles Angels star Jered Weaver.

Picking Weaver wasn’t exactly a tough decision for American League manager Ron Washington.

The lanky right-hander is having a superb season with an 11-4 record and a major league-best 1.86 earned-run average, but also had some of his competition for the starting nod get knocked out of the picture.

Major League Baseball doesn’t allow pitchers who started on Sunday to participate in the Midsummer Classic, which meant Detroit’s Justin Verlander, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, Tampa Bay’s James Shields and the Yankees’ CC Sabathia were ineligible.

Still, the numbers Weaver has put up made him a strong candidate to get the starting nod anyway. Weaver is making his second appearance, but Halladay, one of the best pitchers of a generation, has made a habit of playing in the Midsummer Classic.

A two-time Cy Young Award winner, Halladay, 34, has made the All-Star team eight of the past nine years and will join Vida Blue, Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson as the only pitchers to start the game for both leagues after doing it with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009.

Even on a Phillies staff that includes Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, Halladay has established himself as The Man, a dominating pitcher with no-hitter-in-the-waiting stuff.

Halladay is 11-3 this season with a 2.45 ERA and 138 strikeouts, second-best in the National League. He became the first pitcher since 1991 to open a game with 18 strikes against the Mets on April 30, a start after matching his career high with 14 strikeouts against San Diego.

This year’s All-Star game lost some of its star power when 16 players backed out, including Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Ryan Braun and Jose Reyes, just to name a few. One of the biggest names in baseball, Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, also didn’t get in because of a broken wrist.

Halladay and Weaver won’t treat it any different.

Halladay has the perfect build – 6-foot-6, 230 pounds – to be a dominating pitcher and an ultra-competitive drive to make himself one of the best pitchers in the game.

Weaver has plenty of leverage, too, along with hard-to-figure delivery and a simmering intensity behind that surfer-dude image of his.

On the worldwide stage of the All-Star game, neither one is about to ease up, whether they’re facing A-Rod or the 16th replacement player on the roster.

Bochy and Washington certainly didn’t take anything for granted by picking these two.

Jackson urges All-Stars to speak out against law

The Rev. Jesse Jackson urged baseball’s All-Stars to speak out against the Arizona immigration law, saying they should follow the example set by Jackie Robinson when he broke the sport’s color barrier more than a half-century ago.

Jackson tells The Associated Press that it’s too late for the players to withdraw. He says they should play and speak out.

Boston slugger David Ortiz was among the few players willing to talk Monday about the law. He is from the Dominican Republic and says he would never agree with treating immigrants the wrong way.

Ortiz says he won’t get involved with any protests surrounding today’s game in Phoenix.

Yankees’ Rodriguez has surgery on torn meniscus

Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez has had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

The Yankees said that the All-Star third baseman was operated on in Miami by Dr. Lee Kaplan. Rodriguez is expected to be out four to six weeks. Kaplan will oversee the early stages of Rodriguez’s rehabilitation in Miami.

Rodriguez, who turns 36 later this month, is hitting .295 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs this season. But the three-time MVP with 626 career home runs has not connected since June 11 and has gone 85 at-bats without a homer, his longest single-season drought.

He tweaked his knee at Wrigley Field on June 19, and the tear in his meniscus has slowed him on the bases. He is batting .359 with 10 RBIs in his last 16 games.

Curtis GrandersonCFN.Y. Yankees
Asdrubal CabreraSSCleveland
Adrian Gonzalez1BBoston
Jose BautistaRFToronto
Josh HamiltonLFTexas
Adrian Beltre3BTexas
David OrtizDHBoston
Robinson Cano2BN.Y. Yankees
Alex AvilaCDetroit
Jered WeaverPL.A. Angels
Rickie Weeks2BMilwaukee
Carlos BeltranDHN.Y. Mets
Matt KempCFL.A. Dodgers
Prince Fielder1BMilwaukee
Brian McCannCAtlanta
Lance BerkmanRFSt. Louis
Matt HollidayLFSt. Louis
Troy TulowitzkiSSColorado
Scott Rolen3BCincinnati
Roy HalladayPPhiladelphia

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