A-Rod sits out All-Star game
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Alex Rodriguez was relegated to All-Star observer by his own manager.
The New York Yankees slugger never got in the game for the American League, held out Tuesday night in the National League’s 3-1 win.
A-Rod later said he felt fine physically. He just didn’t get the call from New York manager Joe Girardi.
“I sat there for about three hours, but I was loose and I was ready to go in the eighth and ninth,” Rodriguez said. “We had a couple of situations where I could have gone in, but it was up to him on which situation to put me in.”
“Joe probably decided it was best – unless he really needed me – not to use me. But it’s not my first. I was ready to go in the sixth. It would have been fun, but maybe next time.”
Rodriguez missed four games in mid-June with hip tendinitis. He and Atlanta infielder Omar Infante were the only position players who didn’t get into the All-Star game.
Girardi said Rodriguez was OK.
“We were talking about pinch-running him in a situation” in the ninth inning, Girardi said.
HUNTER COMES UP EMPTY AT HOME: Angels center fielder Torii Hunter caught the ceremonial first pitch from former Angels great Rod Carew before the 81st All-Star game on Tuesday night and autographed the ball for the 15-time All-Star.
That turned out to be the personal highlight of the game for Hunter, who was 0 for 2 and struck out with the potential tying runs at the corners against Adam Wainwright.
“I was swinging so hard, it was unbelievable, man,” Hunter said with a grin. “I was a little jumpy. In that situation, you want to calm yourself down. But I was too anxious and I wanted to go deep.
“Wainwright’s a pretty nasty pitcher. That’s why he’s one of the best in the game. You rarely see some of these guys in the NL. He threw me a lot of off-speed stuff. I thought he was going to challenge me with a fastball, but he didn’t. He was there to win. You could see it in his eyes. He was ready to go,” he said.
It was the fourth All-Star appearance for Hunter, who came in as a defensive replacement in the fourth inning and finished the game. He flied out to right field against Heath Bell his first time up, and is hitless in six career at-bats in the midsummer classic.
That left Boston’s Pedro Martinez and Cleveland’s Sandy Alomar Jr. as the only players to win MVP honors in their home stadium. Martinez earned the award by striking out five of the first six NL batters in as 4-1 win at Fenway Park in 1999. Two years earlier, Cleveland’s Sandy Alomar Jr. took home the hardware after his tiebreaking two-run homer against Shawn Estes in the eighth inning of a 3-1 win at Jacobs Field.
BAT MAN: Jack Marucci had a special reason for watching the game – nearly a dozen All-Stars, including Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard and Paul Konerko, were using his bats.
Marucci is the head athletic trainer at LSU and about 10 years ago, his son wanted to swing a wood bat in T-ball, rather than an aluminum model that most kids wield. So he went to his shed and began working.
Chase Utley, Jose Reyes and Mark Teixeira are among the 60-plus who handle the hand-crafted bats. Marucci was the star attraction at an All-Star event Monday, but then had to leave and return to Baton Rouge, La.
“Football season is coming,” he said. Marucci called all of the attention “humbling.”
Marucci said he planned to tune in the All-Star game. In particular, he wanted to study how his big league sticks did.
“I feel like I’m watching my son bat,” he said.
EXTRA BASES: This is only the second time in history that no home runs were hit in consecutive All-Star games. The other occurrence was 1957-58, when the venues were St. Louis and Baltimore, respectively. “We try to play our best,” home run derby champ David Ortiz said. “But when you see guys who are used to pitching six, seven innings and are here to pitch one inning, you’re going to see the best of those guys.” … The NL has a 41-38-2 record in the All-Star game despite going 12-0-1 in the previous 13. This was the first win for the senior circuit since 1996. … Derek Jeter heard a familiar voice when he batted in the first inning. A recording of the late Bob Sheppard introducing Jeter played over the sound system. Sheppard was the longtime Yankees public address announcer who died Sunday at 99. Jeter still uses Sheppard’s intro at home games. … Texas Rangers DH Vladimir Guerrero, who helped lead the Angels to five AL West titles in a six-year span and was named league MVP in 2004, received one of the loudest ovations during pregame introductions and tipped his cap to the crowd of 45,408. He was 0 for 2 in his ninth All-Star game. … No one played the entire game. Hanley Ramirez and Martin Prado, the first two batters in the NL lineup, each had a game-high three at-bats. Reds reliever Arthur Rhodes, a first-time All-Star at age 40, didn’t get into the game. NL manager Charlie Manuel used nine pitchers and AL counterpart Joe Girardi used 10, including Yankees Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes. … LF Ryan Braun, the only Brewers outfielder ever to start in an All-Star game, turned in the game’s defensive gem when he robbed Josh Hamilton of extra bases with a diving grab going toward the left field line.