With Jason Heyward sitting out the All-Star game, National League manager Charlie Manuel extended an invite to Braves closer Billy Wagner to join the squad. Despite being appreciative of the offer, Wagner declined, preferring to rest his sore ankle over the break.
Wagner has been nursing a sore ankle since turning it against the Rays on June 17th. Though only being unavailable for one appearance so far, he sees it best to give it as much rest as possible and not push it during the All-Star Game.
Although Wagner won’t appear in the game, he will still receive the recognition for being selected as an All-Star for the 7th (and likely final with his impending retirement) time. Hong-Chih Kuo from the Los Angeles Dodgers will fill the spot instead.
I’m glad Wags got the honor of receiving a much-deserved All-Star bid and even more glad that he seems to be thinking playoffs and long-term for the Braves this season. We’re going to need him to continue being dominant down the stretch this season.
Tags: All-Star Game, Billy Wagner
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You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but…..
Omar Infante is a good utility player, but does not deserve to be an All-Star. Not even close. I know I know, he is a valuable member of the Braves’ roster and has the propensity to deliver clutch hits in critical situations such as last Friday against the Marlins. Great. So does Ryan Zimmerman…or Josh Willingham…or how about the NL OPS leader Joey Votto? Of course Zimmerman or Votto will likely be the last player voted in by the fans, but that still leaves two of the other three that are not on the roster while Omar Infante is.
Perhaps Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel was drawn to the fact that Infante can play virtually every position on the diamond. After all, that, and not his singles bopping bat, is why he is so valuable to the Braves. But with the expanded rosters totaling 34 players per team, the need for a utility man becomes nonexistent as Manuel already has at least one backup at all of Omar’s positions.
In all fairness to the Phillies’ skipper, his hand was forced by the rule that every team has to have at least one All-Star. As a result he was forced to select Marlon Byrd (Cubs), Chris Young (D-Backs), and Michael Bourne (Astros), all of which are outfielders. But he should have picked our old friend Kelly Johnson from Arizona over Young, giving the squad more infield depth. Then he could have selected Zimmerman over Infante, giving the NL three players at second, third, and short each (as well as seven outfielders). Instead Manuel decided to carry a below league average hitter with an OPS of .717 on his roster.
From a Braves fan perspective, this is bittersweet. It is great to see one of our unsung heroes get nationally recognized, but we also need the NL to win this game. There is a good chance Infante will not get into the game, but if he does, I will be wishing that a better, more deserving player were up at the plate or out in the field.
Tags: All-Star Game, Omar Infante
Posted in General | 4 Comments »
When all was said and done with All-Star voting, the Atlanta Braves walked away with five selections for the 81st All-Star game, held in Anaheim on July 13th. Jason Heyward, Brian McCann, Tim Hudson, Omar Infante and Martin Prado will all represent the Braves in the Midsummer Classic.
Jason Heyward is the second youngest player to ever be selected to start in an All-Star Game. Though on the disabled list, Heyward will be activated before the game. He will travel to Anaheim but will likely not play in the game.
Martin Prado received his first All-Star selection after a dominant first half of the season where he lead the NL in batting average and MLB in total hits. Prado placed second in voting to Chase Utley, who has been disabled with a thumb injury. As a result, Prado will likely start the game for the National League.
This is also the first All-Star selection for Omar Infante, whose selection came as a surprise. Charlie Manuel added Infante to the National League roster on account of the versatility he provides in a utility role for the Braves.
Tim Hudson received his third trip to the All-Star Game, but his first with the Braves. He last represented the A’s in the 2004 game. After returning from Tommy John surgery last sesason, Hudson has compiled an 8-3 record and posted a 2.37 ERA in 2010.
Brian McCann receives his fifth All-Star selection in his fifth full season in the majors. Though his production is down from 2009, McCann still leads all NL catchers in batting average.
The Braves have a chance to send a 6th player to the Midsummer Classic in the form of Billy Wagner. He has been selected as one of the five NL Final Vote competitors, where the fans have the opportunity to select the final player on the team roster. Wagner is facing off against Joey Votto, Ryan Zimmerman, Carlos Gonzalez and Heath Bell.
There would be no better send-off in Wagner’s final season, where he has served as a dominant closer for the Braves, than an All-Star selection. Vote now to get Wagner in the All-Star Game!
Tags: All-Star Game, Braves All-Stars, Brian McCann, Jason Heyward, Martin Prado, Omar Infante, Tim Hudson
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I know I was hard on him earlier, but Jason Heyward just made me glad his head is screwed on straight – he said that, if chosen, he’ll sit out the All-Star game.
And this is why he’s more mature than most kids his age.
Most kids his age would want to go take the fame and glamour that comes with being selected as an All-Star in your first season. Heyward will be eligible to come off the DL before the All-Star game and could likely play with no risk to the remainder of the season. Despite this, Heyward is showing his maturity and his devotion to the team and electing not to play in the All-Star game.
Good on you, Jason. I’ll be the first to say that we appreciate not just you prioritizing the rest of the season with the Braves, but knowing you’re not after personal glory. You fit here in Atlanta, and we appreciate that.
Tags: All-Star, All-Star Game, Jason Heyward
Posted in Injuries | 1 Comment »
That’s right folks, you heard it here first: looks like the Braves won’t have home field advantage in the World Series this year.
The main flaw from last night’s All-Star game is that Brian McCann only got one at-bat. Let’s be honest: He’s way better than this Yadier Molina character. It’s just that, well, St. Louis fans apparently voted a lot this year because the All-Star game was in their city. So Yadier started, McCann only got one at-bat, and didn’t really get a chance to win the game for the NL. Obviously, it’s Charlie Manuel’s fault.
Our worst fears are confirmed: When the Braves make a run and outright win the NL East this year (and it will happen, mark my words), and when we sweep the Division Championship against the Cubs, and after we win the NL Championship 4-2 against the Phillies, we won’t have home field advantage in the World Series.
What are the ramifications of this, you ask? I’ll tell you:
- If you want to go to all the games, you’ll have to buy 1 (one) additional round trip plane ticket per person, as well as additional away game tickets.
- Charlie Manuel will laugh at us because he’ll think it serves us right for beating them.
- Brian McCann has a brooding hate for all things Phillies. Which is the way it should be.
- The Mets don’t care, because they’re so old they can’t contend.
In an attempt to soften the blow of the Braves not having home field advantage in the World Series and in a futile attempt to change that to “The Phillies won’t have home field advantage in the World Series,” the Phillies have signed the old and decrepid Pedro Martinez. They immediately put him on the DL. And I’m not making that up – that’s just funny.
Oh, and Yunel Escobar is apparently being shopped around. Maybe we can land a big bat after all. Maybe? Please, baseball gods, please?
Tags: All-Star Game, Pedro Martinez, Philadelphia Phillies, World Series, Yunel Escobar
Posted in General | 5 Comments »