Settling on reserves no easy task for skippers
Bochy leaves Final Vote candidate Puig off roster; Leyland adds Verlander
Giants manager Bruce Bochy stuck with his decision and did not name Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig to the National League All-Star team he will mange against the American League's Jim Leyland on July 16 at Citi Field.
But there were mitigating circumstances, Bochy said in San Francisco on Saturday night after the Giants defeated Puig and the Dodgers, 4-2.
Final Vote candidates
|P||Steve Delabar, TOR|
|P||David Robertson, NYY|
|P||Koji Uehara, BOS|
|P||Tanner Scheppers, TEX|
|P||Joaquin Benoit, DET|
|SS||Ian Desmond, WAS|
|1B||Freddie Freeman, ATL|
|1B||Adrian Gonzalez, LAD|
|OF||Hunter Pence, SF|
|OF||Yasiel Puig, LAD|
In advance of Saturday's All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell, Bochy said he probably would not use one of his own reserve choices to select Puig, the Cuban right fielder who set a National League rookie record in June with 44 hits. But as Bochy indicated, fans will have the last word, as Puig is one of five on the ballot for the NL's Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com, which will be conducted until Thursday at 4 p.m. ET on MLB.com and each club site.
The most difficult part of managing the All-Star Game is selecting reserves beyond the stars who are elected by the fans and the players, the veteran skippers said.
The fans elect the starters and the players determine most of the reserves and the pitching staffs. Every one of the 30 Major League clubs also has to have a representative, further complicating matters.
"With the exception of a few pitchers, I got three picks," Leyland said before his Tigers whipped the Indians, 9-4, at Progressive Field. "There are going to be people left off that had All-Star-type first halves and could or should be on an All-Star team very well, but going by the rules, I don't think there'll be anybody on the team that doesn't deserve to be on or is a possible help for us to win the game.
"I'm thrilled with the situation now, because now's the enjoyable part."
Bochy has three members of the defending World Series champs on his club: left-hander Madison Bumgarner, catcher and reigning NL MVP Buster Posey and second baseman Marco Scutaro. Bumgarner and Posey were picked by the players, Scutaro by Bochy, a decision he called a "no-brainer." Outfielder Hunter Pence is also on the NL Final Vote ballot.
Leyland could potentially have seven of his own players on the AL squad, and he knew he'd take some heat for that. Reigning Triple Crown winner and AL MVP Miguel Cabrera was voted in by the fans to start at third base. Right-hander Max Scherzer, having started the season 13-0, and ace Justin Verlander are on the pitching staff -- Scherzer selected by the players, Verlander by Leyland. Outfielder Torii Hunter was picked by the players, and Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit is an AL Final Vote candidate.
"You have to remember something: The fans and the players voted for these players, not Jim Leyland," the skipper said after the game and the announcement. "I added three additional players on the team, other than a few pitching situations. But my point being, we did go to the World Series, and the players and the fans voted the Tigers players.
"I mean, I'm not going to sit here and say I didn't vote for some Tigers players when I had my vote, but I can tell you this: Justin Verlander was my addition to the team from the Detroit Tigers. Everybody else was voted in by the players. If somebody wants to make an argument over that, then God bless them."
It's the third time each manager has been at the helm of an All-Star Game roster. Leyland, whose Marlins won the 1997 World Series over Cleveland, was the manager for the NL's 13-8 loss in the 1998 Midsummer Classic at Coors Field. The year after Leyland's Tigers lost to the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series, the AL dropped a 5-4 decision to the NL at AT&T Park.
Bochy managed the 1998 Padres to the World Series, where they were swept by the Yankees. In '99 at Fenway Park, the NL lost, 4-1. A year after the Giants handled the Rangers in the 2010 World Series, Bochy led the NL to a 5-1 victory at Chase Field.
The Giants swept the Tigers in last year's Fall Classic, which earned each of the veteran managers an automatic berth in this year's All-Star Game.
Leyland said the decision process was long and arduous and he was working on final selections to the team as late as Saturday morning before the Tigers took the field against the Indians.
"Normally, there is a team or some teams that did not have a representative, so that requires you to pick somebody," Leyland said. "So that's where the picks get a little bit tricky. But I worked on it even up until 9:30 this morning. I had my coaches up in my room this morning for a last-minute go-over, researching everything as much as you could to make sure we had it right."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow@boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.