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Baker upset with La Russa over Phillips, Cueto snub

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

 

Two years ago the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals were involved in an on-field brawl. The fight resumed two years later on Sunday.

Tempers flared again when Reds’ second baseman Brandon Phillips and starting pitcher JohnnyCueto not selected to the National League All-Star team by the league or manager Tony La Russa — the former Cardinals’ manager.

The Reds’ Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Aroldis Chapman were chosen, but it was the omissions that angered Reds’ manager Dusty Baker.

“I’m happy for the guys who made it big time, especially for Chapman,” Baker said. “You figured that Joey would make it. We knew Jay had an outside chance. You also figured that Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips had a great chance. I don’t understand that one.

“A snub like that looks bad. Johnny and Brandon were at the center of the skirmish between us and the Cardinals. Some of Cardinals who aren’t there anymore are making some of the selections.”

La Russa took exception to Baker’s comments and responded angrily. He put Cueto’s snub on Baker who plans to pitch Cueto on Sunday prior to the All-Star Game, thus making him unable to pitch on Tuesday.

“If Dusty had been more interested in Cueto being on the team, then he wouldn’t be pitching him on Sunday. Cuety probably would be on teh team if he wasn’t pitching Sunday,” said La Russa.

“The comments Dusty made clearly disappoint me and are attack my integrity. The All-Star experience is too important to let anything stand in the way of a decision like that.”

Votto was voted to the team, La Russa picked Bruce and the players chose Bruce.

Cueto is 9-4 with a 2.26 ERA. He’s fifth in the NL in ERA this year and first over the last two years. Phillips is hitting .288 with 10 home runs and 46 RBI. He is the best defensive second baseman in the league.