R.A. Dickey disappointed he didn't get All-Star start
A 12-1 record by former Mariner R.A. Dickey of the Mets wasn't good enough, as Tony La Russa picked San Francisco's Matt Cain to start for the National League Tuesday night.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Owner of the best record in baseball, R.A. Dickey hoped to become the first knuckleballer to start an All-Star Game since Dutch Leonard in 1943.
A 12-1 record wasn't good enough. Manager Tony La Russa picked San Francisco's Matt Cain to start for the National League Tuesday night.
"I'm not going to break down in tears over it, but at the same time I'm a competitor. I want to pitch. I want to start," the New York Mets' Dickey said Monday. "I feel like I had a good enough first half that I should be considered. But I'm not the boss. I don't necessarily have to agree with him, but I have to respect it. That's just the way it is."
Detroit's Justin Verlander will start for the American League as the All-Stars return to Kansas City for the first time since 1973.
La Russa, who retired after leading the St. Louis Cardinals to last year's World Series title, made the decision after consulting with his longtime pitching coach, Dave Duncan. Cain had the advantage of pitching a perfect game against Houston on June 13.
"We wanted to reward Matt Cain for a career of excellence that's getting better and better," La Russa said.
Cain will pitch to his regular catcher, Buster Posey. La Russa said Dickey likely will enter the game sometime in the first five innings.
Dickey, who had a 5-8 record for the Mariners in 2008, hopes he wasn't denied the start just because he throws knuckleballs.
"You're talking about the best players in the world, and you're asking about a pitch that's too nasty to handle?" Dickey said. "I hope that's not it. If that's the reason, that's a poor reason."
Cain is 9-3 with a 2.62 earned-run average. Dickey, a first-time All-Star at age 37, became the first major-leaguer in 24 years to throw consecutive one-hitters. He has a 2.40 ERA.
Verlander, 9-5 with a 2.58 ERA, is the first All-Star starter who has won Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and MVP.
"Obviously right now, I'm pretty excited about it," he said. "Actually sitting here just looking over the lineup thinking about how I'm going to pitch these guys."
For La Russa, the game marks a full circle. He made his major league debut as a player with the Kansas City Athletics in 1963, when they played downtown at Municipal Stadium.
"To think the last time I'm going to put on a uniform is going to be in Kansas City is just an unbelievable coincidence," he said.
• Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, who finished fourth in NL outfielder voting, will start in place of the Dodgers' Matt Kemp, who's on the disabled list because of a strained hamstring.
• If Atlanta's 40-year-old Chipper Jones appears in the All-Star Game, he will have played in 31 major league cities. Because so many new ballparks have been built during his 19-year career, Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium would become the 45th in which he's played. The third baseman plans to retire after the season.
He listed Safeco Field as one of his five favorite road venues. "It's aesthetically pleasing, and I just really enjoyed myself in Seattle," Jones said.
• The Yankees want Reggie Jackson to steer clear of the clubhouse and team events after recent criticism of Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez. The Hall of Famer will lay low for several weeks, a source told the AP on condition of anonymity. Jackson was not disciplined or fined, and will remain a special adviser to the team. He was quoted by Sports Illustrated saying some of Rodriguez's stats were tainted because he had admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.