Bill Shaikin on a couple of All-Stars who didn't get to play:
- On Monday, Brian Fuentes said he was told he would pitch the sixth inning of the All-Star game. On Tuesday, he was told he would not, which Fuentes blamed on the commissioner's office.
"That bumped me from my inning," Fuentes said. "It's kind of crazy they would have their hand in making up the lineup."
Fuentes, the Angels' closer, did not pitch in the game. He said he was told in an American League team meeting Monday that he would pitch the sixth inning, and he shared that news with family, friends and Angels officials in St. Louis.
On Tuesday, two hours before game time, Fuentes said AL pitching coach Jim Hickey told him that there had been a "misunderstanding" and that AL Manager Joe Maddon had not been aware that the commissioner's office wanted the starting pitchers to work two innings.
That left one fewer inning for the relievers and that left Fuentes out.
I don't get it. Is there now some policy prohibiting or discouraging mid-inning pitching changes? In the bottom of the eighth, Joe Nathan got into a spot of trouble, Ryan Howard was next up, and Fuentes was getting loose in the bullpen. Wasn't that the perfect time to get Fuentes into the game? Granted, it worked out -- for the American League, if not for Fuentes -- when Nathan struck out Howard. But why not make the obvious move there?
Looking at the box score, both pitching staffs were employed in exactly the same way: two innings for each starter -- even though Roy Halladay should have been lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the second -- and one inning apiece for seven relievers on each squad. Apparently that's the plan, to be altered only if someone gets into serious trouble. And by Joe Maddon's standards, Nathan didn't quite qualify.
Anyway, you have to feel for Fuentes. Here's a bit of happier news, from last-minute replacement Chone Figgins:
- He did not get a chance to meet Obama, as security detained Figgins outside the clubhouse because the president already was inside.
He did not get into the game either. Maddon apologized to him afterward, but Figgins said no apology was necessary.
"I wasn't bothered at all. I honestly wasn't," Figgins said. "Back in the day when guys played eight innings, a lot of guys didn't get in. For me to complain is not right."
The greatest thrill, he said, was simply standing along the foul line as he was introduced as an All-Star.
"My mom and dad got to see me stand on the line," he said. "That was the greatest feeling ever."
Spoken like a true All-Star.