Ron Washington deciding All-Star picks
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington, the skipper of the American League All-Star squad, will receive the results of the player ballots at some point today. That means he can begin finalizing his final picks for the roster.
Washington gets eight selections, and five of them must be pitchers. But he also has to be sure that every team has a representative. So he'll see what the players decided and go from there. His eighth choice will involve turning in five names for fans to vote as the final player to make the squad.
"I've done it once now, so that helps," Washington said this week. "I've got a lot of help, and I'll look at what we need to fill out the team."
The good news for Washington: He'll get some more pitching help this year. Injuries and the number of starters that pitched the Sunday before the 2011 All-Star Game hurt the AL's abilty to match up with the National League. Washington didn't have Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, David Price or Jon Lester because they pitched Sunday or were injured. Josh Beckett warmed up during the game and then couldn't pitch because of a knee issue.
A new rule, though, should ease Washington's mind a bit. Pitchers that start Sunday can now pitch in the All-Star Game if they choose, but do so with a pitch count. It means a starter could give Washington an inning in the All-Star Game after pitching Sunday, which would essentially be like throwing a bullpen session.
"I can go there with the best the American League has to offer," Washington said. "The National League certainly had the best they had to offer. That’s for sure. We make no excuse, we got beat, but I still would like to have all my bullets. And then if it don’t work out, you can blame me."
The schedule appears to line up well for Washington. Verlander should be ready to start the game if Washington chooses, as he would pitch the Wednesday before the game. Price should also be available without any issue.
Washington knows the outcome of the game is important, considering his club hasn't had home field advantage in the World Series the past two years because of NL victories in the game, including while he was the AL skipper last year.
“I’d like to have more games at home, in the World Series, I certainly would," Washington said. "But I didn’t think it was a disadvantage to us last year. We still could have won, whether it was in St. Louis or Texas. But yes, I’d like to have more games at home."
What about having the All-Star Game determine home field in the Fall Classic?
"I really don’t know," Washington said. "There was a lot of consideration put into this format and there were a lot of guys involved that were experts. This is what they came up with, so this is what we live with. I’m not one of those that complains about much. Whatever it is, is what we do."
Washington must have his selections turned in by Saturday and they will be announced Sunday afternoon.
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