Sunday, July 14, 2013

Verlander, Locke, and Zimmermann out of the ASG, Tillman, Melancon, and Romo Named Replacements.

Sergio Romo is one of three players just recently added to the AL and NL All-Star Team rosters.

With the ASG coming just two days away, the roster moves have been coming in rather quickly, especially since there are All-Star pitchers who made their scheduled starts today. Because of this, they can no longer be part of the All-Star Roster, even though they will still attend the festivities and line up with their fellow All-Stars. They just won't be part of the "active" roster.

Such is what has now happened with Justin Verlander. Presently, he and the Tigers are taking on the Rangers, and as of this moment, Detroit is up on Texas 5-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth. Because Verlander pitched 7 strong innings of 1-hit, shutout ball, he can't pitch at the ASG. So in his place, AL manager Jim Leyland has tabbed Chris Tillman of the Baltimore Orioles to take his place. Tillman is 11-3 with an ERA of 3.95, and 89 strikeouts in 111.2 innings of work. It will be his first All-Star Game appearance, and now the Orioles have 5 players going to Citi Field, the most since 1997. Tillman joins starters Chris Davis, J. J. Hardy, Adam Jones, and reserve Manny Machado on the 34-man squad.

Just recently, Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke announced that he would be taking himself off the NL team because of lower back tightness. He was scratched from his scheduled Sunday start, so even if he was healthy, he wouldn't be able to play the ASG anyway. So NL manager Bruce Bochy replaced one Pirate with another. Reliever Mark Melancon has been tabbed to take Locke's place on the roster. Right now one of the best middle relievers in all of MLB, Locke entered Sunday's contest with an NL-best 0.81 ERA, holding batters to a .193 average and striking out 46 in 44 1/3 innings. Locke will still go to the ASG, and counting him and Melancon, the Bucs now have five players heading for New York, along with 3B Pedro Alvarez, outfielder Andrew McCutchen, and closer Jason Grilli.

It's been known for a while now that Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann would not play in the ASG due to tightness in his neck. But that doesn't mean he won't be going to NY to take part in the festivities. Replacing Zimmermann is going to be a pitcher Bochy has seen very often with much success, Giants' closer Sergio Romo. Romo presently has 21 saves to go with a 2.86 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 34.2 innings of work. He even racked up nine saves in last year's World Series. Romo is now the fourth Giants player to be named an All-Star, with teammates Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, and Marco Scutaro being the other three.

So if your All-Star Binder hasn't been filled yet, start adding three more cards to the pages (come on, I can't be the only person doing this). Chris Tillman does not have a card in the regular 2013 Topps set, but is featured in the Orioles retail set as card #BAL16. Melancon doesn't have a card in either the eponymous set or in the 17-card retail set. He should now have a couple of cards in the Update Series set (along with Tillman). Until then, I'll just use the card of PNC Park to represent Melancon. Sergio Romo appears as #154 in the base set and #SFG11 in the retail set.

What are you waiting for? Put them in now. And make sure to leave plenty of room. There could be more players becoming All-Stars by the end of the day.


JayBee Anama

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