Before we get to the news, cards, roster updates, I just have one thing to say.
To Aramis Ramirez, who I know is never going to read this unless he stumbles upon it by accident:
You are definitely deserving of being named an All-Star. I respect your decision to decline as family should always come first. I just wish you were there to stand amongst your peers as a member of this year's NL All-Star Team.
For those trying to figure out why a player is chosen (and another is not), here is what is happening. Let's see if I have this right:
- If a player was voted onto the starting lineup and has to be replaced, the player selected by the players (who should already have been named onto the team) takes his spot in the starting lineup. That player's replacement on the bench is selected by the manager.
- If a player was voted onto the team by the players/coaches/managers and has to be replaced, the player next in line from the players' ballot takes the roster spot.
- If a player was selected by the manager and has to be replaced on the team, then the manager selects the replacement.
Felix Hernandez of the Mariners also pitched on Sunday, making him ineligible. His replacement, by virtue of the player balloting was Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester. Lester, however, is on the DL, so he can't play, but feel free to get card #3 or BOS11 anyway. He's officially an All-Star. Taking Lester's spot on the roster is Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero. This is Romero's first All-Star game appearance. Card #'s 148 and TOR16.
Justin Verlander of the Tigers pitched on Sunday as well, so he can't participate in the ASG either. To take his spot, rookie Michael Pineda of the Mariners was selected to take his spot on the team. Pineda is the third Mariners' third pitcher (following King Felix and closer Brandon League) on the staff. His Topps card number is #595 (no Mariners team card).
The changes continue on the NL side as well.
Placido Polanco of the Phillies is now taking the game off due to injury. His back up, Chipper Jones of the Braves, is already on the 15-Day DL. Now, at the beginning, I mentioned that Aramis Ramirez declined, unfortunately, to take part in the festivities (if they had asked him YESTERDAY, he would have made plans for Phoenix). Scott Rolen of the Reds, who took Chipper's spot on the roster is now the starting third baseman on the NL side. Taking Polanco's spot on the team is Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero. Montero. It is his first All-Star appearance as well. Montero joins teammate Justin Upton in welcoming everybody to the All-Star Game. His card numbers are #234 and ARI8.
Jose Reyes, the NL's starting shortstop, is also out of the starting lineup due to injury. Taking his spot on the team (and I don't know who got the call first between him and A-Ram) is Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval. The "Kung Fu Panda", is making his first appearance on the All-Star team, and joins pitchers Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, Brian Wison, and Matt Cain on the squad. Sandoval's cards are #188 and SFG12 (you are keeping track right???).
Speaking of Matt Cain. He also pitched on Sunday, so he's off the roster too. So enter Atlanta Braves pitcher Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel is the Braves' rookie closer and leads the NL in saves. This will be his first All-Star appearance too. However, he has no cards in either the Topps set or the Update set. So use the Braves' team card #319 as a fill in until he (hopefully) shows up in the Update Series.
And finally, Cole Hamels started on Sunday, so he is now off the team. Taking his spot is Pirates pitcher Kevin Correia. With the Pirates surprising rise in the NL Central standings, the Bucs deserve more than one player on this staff. Correia has been among the league leaders in wins (11-7 record in 19 starts), and is also making his first All-Star appearance. He is now the third Pirate to be named to the active squad, joining teammates Andrew McCutchen and closer Joel Hanrahan. He is on card #47 (with the Padres) and PIT15 on the Pirates team set (which I don't have yet, but I did find the picture of the card for the purpose of this article.
So right now there are 43 AL and 41 NL players who are officially All-Stars for the 2011 season.
And the scary thing about all of these changes is that there still may be more to come.