Mounting injuries creating All-Scar roster for Classic
ANAHEIM, Calif. — To heck with his banged-up shoulder, Joe Mauer is headed to the All-Star game. Or rather, the All-Scar game.
Atlanta rookie Jason Heyward became the latest guy to join the dropout list Sunday. NL manager Charlie Manuel wanted Billy Wagner as a replacement — no good, the Braves closer passed because of a sore ankle.
The likes of Mariano Rivera, Chase Utley and Dustin Pedroia already were sidelined for Tuesday night’s game at Angel Stadium. Then achy All-Stars Justin Morneau and Jose Reyes announced this weekend they were out, too.
Boston third baseman Adrian Beltre could be the next one marked absent. He left Sunday’s game at Toronto with a strained left hamstring.
“If I don’t feel good I won’t play,” Beltre said. “I don’t want to screw up my season for a couple of at-bats in an exhibition game.”
Mauer will play, although the Minnesota catcher sat out Sunday’s game at Detroit after recently taking three foul tips off his right shoulder. The reigning AL MVP drew a major league-leading 5 million votes in fan balloting for starting spots.
“Am I feeling great? No, and I could use a couple days off, but I’m able to go out there and play, so I’ll be there,” Mauer said Sunday.
“It’s sore, and I’m getting a day off today, but it isn’t going to keep me from going out to Anaheim,” he said.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire might prefer Mauer go in a different direction.
“If I had my druthers as a manager, he’d be fishing with me in northern Minnesota — I know his shoulder would be fine there,” he said. “But it is a great honor to play, especially when you’ve been voted in by the fans. I wish they had three catchers, though.”
“I would really like to see baseball give everyone the four-day break,” he said.
Gardenhire said he was offered a coaching spot by AL manager Joe Girardi of the Yankees, but declined. “I told him I already had a reservation with some walleyes,” he said.
Morneau will miss out because of a concussion. The Twins slugger will spend the days off resting in Minnesota.