Jered Weaver says he’s starting for AL All-Stars

Angels ace Jered Weaver has been told he’ll start for the AL in

Tuesday’s All-Star game.

Weaver said he got the news on Sunday from Los Angeles manager

Mike Scioscia, who got a call from Texas’ Ron Washington. The

defending AL champion Rangers’ manager picks the starter.

”It’s very exciting,” Weaver said. ”Never in my life would I

think that I’d even be in an All-Star game, let alone starting. I’d

like to thank Ron Washington for the opportunity. It should be

fun.”

Weaver was the strong favorite for the job after going 11-4 with

a major league-leading 1.86 ERA before the break. He threw a

six-hitter in his final tuneup against the Seattle Mariners last

Thursday, earning his fifth straight victory.

The lanky right-hander has gone at least seven innings in each

start during a nine-game stretch without a loss, giving up just 10

earned runs.

Weaver has thrown four of his eight career complete games this

season, solidifying his spot among the majors’ top handful of

starters. He feels a particular responsibility to play well in his

first All-Star action, knowing a victory conceivably could give the

Angels homefield advantage in the World Series.

”They’ve put a pretty big stake on the game, so it’s

important,” Weaver said. ”It’s obviously something that people

take a lot more seriously than in past years.”

Weaver will be the first Angels pitcher to start an All-Star

game since Mark Langston in 1993. His ERA is the lowest in

franchise history for a starter at the All-Star break.

Weaver also had an edge for the starting job because several

fellow candidates pitched on Sunday, including Detroit’s Justin

Verlander, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, Tampa Bay’s James Shields and

the Yankees’ CC Sabathia. Pitchers who play on Sunday aren’t

allowed to pitch in All-Star games.

Hernandez, who pitched seven innings of six-hit ball in

Seattle’s 4-2 loss to the Angels on Sunday, is disappointed by the

rule. Weaver knows his pain: He was picked for his first All-Star

team last summer, but wasn’t allowed to pitch in his home park.

Scioscia wouldn’t confirm Weaver’s honor, but believes his ace

is among baseball’s best.

”I don’t know if at any one time you can pick the best pitcher,

but what I look at is a top five,” Scioscia said earlier this

week. ”On any given day, you can call any one of them the best

pitcher. Weave is clearly in that group, not only in our league …

but in all of baseball. He’s solidly in that top five, and that’s

quite a grouping to be in.”