Cards well-represented on NL roster in 2013 All-Star Game
ST. LOUIS Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig, Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina are in. So is Adam Wainwright, with an asterisk. Don’t rule out Edward Mujica, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn or Trevor Rosenthal just yet, either.
And there you go. With five players named to the National League All-Star team Saturday and a possibility another could be added, the Cardinals will be well represented in the July 16 exhibition, uh, game at Citi Field.
“We’re very proud of this group and they will represent us very well,” manager Mike Matheny said.
Wainwright, voted in by the players, will attend the festivities but might not pitch in the game after the club adjusted the rotation to give him two more starts before the break.
Instead of starting Wednesday, as had been scheduled, Wainwright will go Tuesday against the Astros and then against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 14, the last day before the break. Both starts will come on regular rest.
Because there used to be a rule that prohibited pitchers who start on the Sunday before the All-Star Game from appearing in the game, Wainwright figured he would be limited to spectating in New York. But a change in the latest CBA gives Sunday starters the option of working one inning in the All-Star Game if called upon.
Wainwright, Matheny and the media at Busch Stadium were not aware of this rule change until late Saturday.When meeting with the media earlier Saturday, Wainwright talked as though he wouldn’t be permitted to pitch. And he was OK with that.
“It’s cool to pitch in the (All-Star) game but what’s more important is what is going on inside this clubhouse,” Wainwright said.
If he knew he had a realistic chance to start the game, however, his decision might have been different. But NL manager Bruce Bochy is said to be leaning towards starting Matt Harvey, the ace for the host team Mets.
“When I made it in 2010, I pitched the seventh inning,” Wainwright said. “When they’re listing my accolades, they don’t say ‘made the 2010 All-Star game and pitched the seventh inning.’ They just say 2010 All-Star. Right?
“Would I rather have two starts and try to help this team win two more games or pitch the seventh inning? I’m taking the two games every time.”
Moving Wainwright up a day benefits the Cardinals in more than one way. Besides getting an added start from their ace, pushing rookie Shelby Miller from Tuesday to Wednesday will allow the Cardinals to give him up to two weeks between starts, depending on where he’s slotted after the break.
“He’ll be getting some rest and saving those bullets for down the stretch,” Wainwright said. “I’m perfectly OK with that. I let them know right from the start where my priorities are and that’s in this clubhouse.”
If Wainwright (or any other Sunday starter) opts out of being on the active NL roster, Bochy will choose an additional pitcher to take his place on the 34-man roster. Might he be a Cardinal? They have no shortage of qualified candidates, including Mujica, Miller, Lynn and, if the NL is truly serious about winning, Rosenthal.
“You’ve got five guys going already so you think he’s probably going to go a different route,” Wainwright said. “But we have guys that are very deserving.”
The selections of Carpenter, voted in as a backup by players, and Craig, a manager’s selection, drew nice rounds of applause when Matheny made the announcements in a team meeting following the Cardinals’ 5-4 walk-off victory over the Marlins.
“We had all some good cheers,” Carpenter said. “It was a lot of fun. To win in the fashion we did and come in here and celebrate five guys on our team making the All-Star team, it’s quite a day.”
In his first season as a second baseman and as an everyday player, Carpenter ranks top five in the NL in runs, hits and on-base percentage and top 10 in batting average. Even though he owned the credentials, he was anything but certain he would make the team.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thinking about it,” said Carpenter, who last month made plans to spend the break at his home in Texas. “Honestly, I had no idea. I know how many great players there are in this league and how hard it is to do this. I didn’t expect anything. I would be completely understanding if I didn’t. It’s a real thrill.”
Craig, the NL lead in hitting with runners in scoring position and top five in RBIs and batting average, was chosen as a manager’s selection ahead of Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez.
The numbers favor Craig, who is hitting .325/.370/.491 with 10 homers and 68 RBIs. Freeman was hitting .309/.385/.468 with nine homers and 56 RBIs going into Saturday night. Gonzalez was at .300/.353/.492 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs before the Dodgers’ game against the Giants. Freeman and Gonzalez both were named to the final vote competition, though their chances of beating out Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig aren’t good.
Beltran, an All-Star for the eighth time, and Molina, a five-timer, were voted by fans into the starting lineup. Molina was the leading vote-getter among NL players, warranted recognition for the league’s leading hitter and premier defender. Beltran, who spent six and a half seasons with the Mets, was the top vote-getter among NL outfielders.
“I have a lot of fans that love me over there (in New York). There’s no doubt about that,” said Beltran, adding that a right oblique issue could keep him out of the home run contest. “And I have some fans that don’t want to see me. I guess you have to take the good and the bad.”
For Beltran and the Cardinals, the All-Star selections leaned toward the good.
You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at email@example.com.