Prior to Sunday’s announcement, there were a handful of more-than-qualified candidates who could have been left off the docket just as easily as they could be named the starter. Boston’s tandem of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz both made the cut, although neither of the two was anywhere near certain he would hear his name called on Sunday. The closest things to no-brainers — David Price and Cliff Lee — were also chosen, along with a handful of worthy starting pitchers that included Trevor Cahill, Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia.
But there are a few names conspicuously missing from that list, one of whom is right under AL manager Joe Girardi’s nose. Though Girardi said on Monday that he plans to add Andy Pettitte as a sub, the question still remains: Why was he snubbed in the first place?
There are rules and regulations that forced Girardi’s hand — rules he had to outsmart. For one, nobody who pitches on the last day of play before the All-Star break is allowed to pitch in the All-Star game two days later. Girardi hinted that his plan is to replace Sabathia with Pettitte as soon as Sunday’s game ends.
"I thought CC was well-deserving and Andy is well-deserving," Girardi told ESPN.com. "And I hate the fact that one guy wouldn’t make it. … [Adding Pettitte to the mix is] a move that could possibly be made by the end of the week. As soon as one pitch is thrown on Sunday."
But the Midsummer Classic shouldn’t be about semantics and loopholes. It should be an honor to those who are named. Rules that require this sort of scheming make the whole All-Star Game operation hollow.
Girardi’s tongue-in-cheek hinting on Monday essentially put to rest all the questions about why he chose Sabathia and snubbed Pettitte, but still, Pettitte, who is off to the best start in his 16-year career, should have had the honor of hearing his name called on Sunday. He shouldn’t have to wait a week.
The lefty, ever the diplomat, insists that he doesn’t mind waiting.
"The idea is to get as many of our players onto the team, and this is a way that maybe we can work it all out," he said. "Hopefully, I’ll get to go."
Through 16 starts this season, Pettitte is 10-2 — the best winning percentage (.833) among any starter on the Yankees’ staff, which leads the majors in wins — with a 2.82 ERA in 105 1/3 innings. Alternately, Sabathia is 10-3 with a 3.33 ERA in 116 1/3 innings.
Not only are Pettitte’s numbers better than anyone else’s on his team, they’re better than many of the guys who snuck onto the AL’s roster. Take Fausto Carmona, for example. His story is compelling, as he’s in the midst of quite a bounce-back year after two straight poor seasons, but he’s 7-7 with a 3.69 ERA.
Maybe that rule that every team must be represented is the problem. Carmona, after all, will be the Indians’ lone representative in Anaheim, and if not for that stipulation, Pettitte almost undoubtedly would have been named to the original roster.
It will take a few days, but Pettitte will get his due. However, when you’re 38 and in the midst of the best start of your career, though, you shouldn’t have to wait at all.
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