On Sunday, Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli was voted into his first All-Star Game, where he will start for the American League.
Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters earned a spot after being selected by the players and Texas manager Ron Washington, who will skipper the AL team, used one of his selections on Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer.
To the surprise of many, Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was left off the roster. Pierzynski is having one of his best seasons, leading all catchers with 45 RBI. He is fourth in home runs with 14 and batting .285.
When asked about the biggest omission on the team on Sunday, Washington said the player he feels for the most was Pierzynski. Washington said he needed a third catcher and that by selecting Mauer, it also gave him some flexibility at first base, FOXSportsSouthwest.com’s Anthony Andro reported.
“If (Washington) felt that bad, he would have put me on the team,” Pierzynski said when asked about Washington’s comments on Sunday. “He had an opportunity to do it and he didn’t do it. Obviously he can feel as bad as he wants, but he didn’t feel that bad.
“I’m not surprised. I know how it goes, how it works. I knew this was going to happen.”
Popularity is a major factor in All-Star selection, a point not lost on Pierzynski. Napoli is batting .238 with 12 home runs and 30 RBI, but is riding the popularity of the impact he had on the Rangers last season in reaching their second straight World Series.
Pierzynski seemed to be prepared for the letdown based on comments he made Saturday.
“It’s the ultimate personal reward as a player to be voted as an All-Star, to go there and enjoy the game,” Pierzynski told The Chicago Sun-Times. ”At the same time, I know how it works. It’s a popularity contest, and I know I’m probably not going to win it and I’m not going to go.”
If Pierzynski really has a problem with Washington’s selection, the two will have a chance to meet face-to-face before the All-Star Game when the Rangers travel to Chicago for a three-game series against the White Sox starting Tuesday.