Too much good stuff: Rosenthal empties his All-Star notebook

For every FOX broadcast, I prepare a series of notes for possible use on the air. I never get to them all, and during the All-Star Game I usually don’t get to any — there is just too much else we have to feature.

Here is a sampling of my notes for Tuesday night’s game. Most stemmed from new reporting; a few I had used in previous columns. At the bottom, I’ve added an item on Pete Rose and another on an unlikely All-Star.

Dallas Keuchel. Around the Astros, he is known for his sarcasm. Case in point: June 15, when manager A.J. Hinch removed him for Joe Thatcher against the Rockies, even though he also would have had the platoon advantage against Charlie Blackmon, a left-handed hitter. Keuchel, an intense competitor, stormed around the dugout after leaving the game. But when Thatcher retired Blackmon to end the inning, he approached Hinch and said, "Hey, skip, that was a great call. I was tired as can be."

Three All-Star starters in one trade (Part 1). The Zack Greinke trade between the Royals and Brewers — which sent fellow All-Star starters Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar to Kansas City — almost didn’t happen. The Nationals made a strong run at Greinke in Dec. 2010, discussing players such as Jordan Zimmermann, Drew Storen and Danny Espinosa, even offering Greinke a contract extension. But Greinke invoked his limited no-trade rights to block a deal to Washington, believing the Nats would not be close enough to winning if they parted with so many quality prospects. The Brewers were in a better competitive position, and had just acquired Shaun Marcum to bolster their rotation. Greinke gave his approval, and the Royals wound up with two future middle-of-the-diamond mainstays, Escobar and Cain, and a third piece who helped get them James Shields, Jake Odorizzi.

Three All-Star starters from one trade (Part 2). The last time it happened was in 1992, when Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter and Fred McGriff each started the game, with Tony Fernandez — the other player in that deal — also appearing. The Padres sent Alomar and Carter to the Jays for McGriff and Fernandez on Dec. 5, 1990. The quartet went a combined 6-for-11 in the 1992 ASG, with three runs scored, two RBI and two stolen bases, both by Alomar.

Bryce Harper. Surprisingly poor numbers in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark — .163 batting average, one home run in 43 at-bats, .498 OPS. Harper says, "All you’ve got to do is touch it here (to hit it out). Sometimes you get a little excited to play here, it’s so small. I’d rather play in a park with 900-foot fences. It makes me stay through the ball, stay on the ball a little more."

Josh Donaldson. An avid collector of trading cards and memorabilia, he said he didn’t want to be too pushy with his All-Star teammates. Donaldson says he likes signed team balls — standard All-Star fare — and that last year he left with a bat signed by all of the Home Run Derby hitters, the NL participants on one side, the AL participants on the other. His best baseball cards? "A bunch of Mickey Mantles."

Paul Goldschmidt/A.J. Pollock. The two are good friends, and Goldschmidt said he was more excited for Pollock making the All-Star team than he was for himself. Both were drafted by the D-Backs in 2009, Pollock in the first round, Goldschmidt in the eighth. They took different paths at the lower levels, then became teammates and Southern League All-Stars at Double A in 2011. Two other players in this year’s game appeared in that Southern League All-Star game — Stephen Vogt and Brad Boxberger.


D.J. LeMahieu. Dan O’Dowd, then the Rockies GM, overruled the team’s scouts to grab LeMahieu from the Cubs on Dec. 9, 2011 — the Cubs, in one of Theo Epstein’s first moves, acquired Ian Stewart to be their everyday third baseman in that deal, and it didn’t work out. O’Dowd viewed LeMahieu as a winning player — he loved his defense, his ability to make contact, his durability. LeMahieu was drafted 20 places behind future Rockies teammate — and All-Star teammate — Nolan Arenado in the second round of the 2009 draft.

Salvador Perez. Always was gifted defensively, but struggled as a hitter earlier in his career. In 2009, the Royals even demoted Perez from Class A back to rookie ball because of his offensive struggles. The following year, Perez shared catching duties with Wil Myers at high A and started to take off offensively. Ned Yost, then a special advisor with the team, fell in love with Perez and became his advocate. Perez reached the majors with Yost as his manager the following year.

David Price. The Tigers are unlikely to be sellers at the non-waiver deadline, but they could get a ton for Price if they make him available. Either way, Price says that last year’s trade from Tampa Bay to Detroit prepared him not only for another trade, but also for the possibility of changing teams as a free agent this offseason. "It makes me feel like I can do this anywhere," he said. "It’s kind of a sigh of relief."

Brett Gardner. Had 43 texts and six missed calls on his phone after learning during last Thursday’s Yankees game that he had made the All-Star team. Gardner was a little perplexed by the missed calls — people close to him should have known that he was in the middle of a game. I asked if maybe one was from a grandparent. He said no, his only surviving grandparent, his grandmother Vernon Russell, faithfully watches every one of his games back home in Holly Hill, S.C., and would never make that mistake. Her nickname is "Miss Punky." She is 87 years old.

Chris Archer. Whenever the Rays are on the road, Archer tries to visit that city’s RBI league — RBI standing for Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. Archer’s pitching schedule and the leagues’ playing schedules do not always line up, but he will go to the Toronto league on Friday, the first day after the break. Archer said, "I don’t have kids. I don’t have a wife. There is no better time than now to dedicate an hour of time to maybe change somebody’s life."

Carlos Martinez. Continues to pay tribute to his close friend, the late Oscar Taveras. Martinez tweeted a photo of himself and Taveras after winning the Final Vote, saying, "Hey el_fenonemo_18, we’re going to Cincinnati. USSSS. THANK YOU #CardinalNation." Taveras was el_fenonemo.

A.J. Burnett. Asked him why he is wearing Batman cleats for the All-Star Game, and Burnett joked, "You don’t know what I do when I sleep." He continued, "Pittsburgh is my Gotham. They accept me as that guy." Burnett isn’t kidding — on the day he turned down his $12.75 million player option with the Phillies, he called Pirates GM Neal Huntington to say that he wanted to play his final season in Pittsburgh, and nowhere else. Huntington said it was "almost awkward" — he didn’t want to insult Burnett. The two sides reached agreement on a one-year, $8.5 million deal.

Gerrit Cole. Baseball history is littered with teams that blew it by choosing a pitcher with the first pick of the amateur draft. The Pirates did it twice before, taking Kris Benson in 1996 and Bryan Bullington in 2002. Benson turned out to be decent but not a star, while Bullington was a bust. Cole, on the other hand, has justified the Pirates’ decision to take him with the first pick in 2011. The choice wasn’t simple — Cole actually got outpitched by his UCLA teammate Trevor Bauer his junior year, and the Pirates also considered Archie Bradley, Danny Hultzen and Anthony Rendon. But in the end, the Pirates did not waver from their belief that Cole had the greatest upside.


J.D. Martinez. The Astros released Martinez in March 2014, only to see him re-emerge in Detroit with a swing that he had started to remake while on the DL the previous summer. Martinez studied video of hitters such as Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols and Ryan Braun — players he now can call fellow All-Stars. I asked Martinez if he would approach those players and explain the impact they had on his career. "No," he said. "I’m too shy about that kind of stuff."

Manny Machado. Got married last November, and it wasn’t your average wedding. First of all, Machado married Yainee Alonso, the younger sister of Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso. Second, the wedding took place at a castle in Angers, France, outside of Paris. Machado said the setting was overwhelming, and that when he saw his wife walking down the aisle, he burst into tears.

Jonathan Papelbon. You’ve heard of players who say, "Play me or trade me." Papelbon took a different tack at Monday’s media availability, essentially telling the Phillies, "trade me or trade me." At one point I asked him if he was losing his mind while waiting to be dealt. He said, "I don’t know if I’ve ever had it. If you don’t have anything to lose, you can’t lose it." Classic Papelbon.

Pete Rose. I interviewed Rose after he came off the field from the pregame ceremony, but not immediately. First, Rose engaged in a long embrace with Reds owner Bob Castellini in a hallway that connected the third-base dugout to a concourse beneath the stadium.

Castellini loves the old Reds, and clearly was moved by the ceremony and the return of Rose. The two spoke for a few minutes, and Rose told Castellini that he loved him. It was a softer side of Rose, a side the public rarely sees.

Stephen Vogt. A first-time All-Star at age 30, I’m not sure many players appreciated the honor more. The Rays designated Vogt for assignment on March 31, 2013, then traded him to the Athletics for future considerations. This is Vogt’s first full season in the majors.

"I was fighting back tears during the (pregame) ceremony," Vogt said. "You look around and think, ‘What am I doing here?’"