Cain, Verlander named All-Star starters

Cain, Verlander named All-Star starters
July 9, 2012, 6:55 pm
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez are going to pitch in tomorrow night's All-Star Game, they'll have to do so out of the bullpen.

National League manager Tony La Russa named Giants right-hander Matt Cain his starter today, with American League skipper Ron Washington selecting Tigers ace Justin Verlander.

Strasburg and Gonzalez appeared to be candidates for the honor earlier this summer, but each faded a bit over the last month. Strasburg was 9-1 with a 2.48 ERA after his June 20 victory over the Rays, but he's 0-3 with a 4.80 ERA over his last three starts. Gonzalez is tied with the Mets' R.A. Dickey for the NL lead with 12 wins, but his ERA over his last seven starts is 4.28.

La Russa's selection of Cain (9-3, 2.62) over Dickey (12-1, 2.40) stirred up some controversy, particularly in New York. The retired Cardinals skipper (who was given permission to return to manage this exhibition game) cited the familiarity between Cain and Giants catcher Buster Posey as rationale for Cain's selection. He also said he'd rather have St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina catch Dickey's knuckleball later in the game.

Strasburg and Gonzalez are joined here by Bryce Harper, who was the last player added to the NL roster after Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton succumbed to injury over the weekend.

La Russa said his toughest decisions in assembling this All-Star roster involved the NL's deep and talented outfield. Ultimately, he cited the allure of including Harper (who at 19 is the youngest position player in All-Star history) in an event that also boasts 20-year-old outfielder Mike Trout on the AL side.

"It would be nice to put our National League young phenom against our American League phenom, because they've been exciting our baseball world," La Russa said. "It's been really good for our game to see Trout and Harper come into the game."

Here are the full starting lineups for both All-Star squads...

DH Carlos Gonzalez
CF Melky Cabrera
LF Ryan Braun
1B Joey Votto
RF Carlos Beltran
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
2B Dan Uggla
SS Rafael Furcal
(P Matt Cain)

SS Derek Jeter
2B Robinson Cano
LF Josh Hamilton
RF Jose Bautista
1B Prince Fielder
3B Adrian Beltre
DH David Ortiz
C Mike Napoli
CF Curtis Granderson
(P Justin Verlander)