Price, Rodney named to AL All-Star team
Third straight selection for lefty, first for Rays' closer
ST. PETERSBURG -- Shortly after the Tigers batted in the third inning of Sunday's Rays-Tigers contest at Tropicana Field, the announcement came across the public address system that David Price and Fernando Rodney will represent the team at this year's All-Star Game.
A nice ovation by the crowd of 21,874 followed for the two pitchers, who will be heading for Kansas City to play for this year's squad, which will be managed by Texas Rangers skipper Ron Washington.
American League roster
|C||Mike Napoli, TEX|
|1B||Prince Fielder, DET|
|2B||Robinson Cano, NYY|
|3B||Adrian Beltre, TEX|
|SS||Derek Jeter, NYY|
|OF||Josh Hamilton, TEX|
|OF||Curtis Granderson, NYY|
|OF||Jose Bautista, TOR|
|DH||David Ortiz, BOS|
|RHP||Ryan Cook, OAK|
|LHP||Matt Harrison, TEX|
|RHP||Felix Hernandez, SEA|
|RHP||Jim Johnson, BAL|
|RHP||Joe Nathan, TEX|
|RHP||Chris Perez, CLE|
|LHP||David Price, TB|
|RHP||Fernando Rodney, TB|
|LHP||CC Sabathia, NYY|
|LHP||Chris Sale, CWS|
|RHP||Justin Verlander, DET|
|RHP||Jered Weaver, LAA|
|LHP||C.J. Wilson, LAA|
|C||Joe Mauer, MIN|
|C||Matt Wieters, BAL|
|SS||Elvis Andrus, TEX|
|SS||Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE|
|3B||Miguel Cabrera, DET|
|2B||Ian Kinsler, TEX|
|1B||Paul Konerko, CWS|
|OF||Adam Jones, BAL|
|OF||Mike Trout, LAA|
|OF||Mark Trumbo, LAA|
|DH||Billy Butler, KC|
|DH||Adam Dunn, CWS|
"I'm really pleased," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We all pretty much felt David would make it. I'm really pleased that Fernando made it also. I think he truly deserves it. It's great we're going to be represented that way."
The official announcement to a national television audience came earlier in the afternoon during the Major League Baseball All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell, when all of the All-Stars were unveiled.
The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 7:30 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.
Both players were players choice selections.
"To get selected by your peers, the opposing players you play against and your teammates, that's definitely a good feeling right there," Price said.
Price will be making his third trip to the All-Star Game, after making his first team in 2010. He served as the American League's starting pitcher then, and made a repeat appearance on the team in 2011. He joins Evan Longoria as the only Rays players to make the All-Star team in three consecutive seasons.
When asked what being a three-time All-Star said about him, Price smiled:
"I guess that I'm a three-time All-Star," Price said. "I don't really have much more than that. It's definitely an honor, and I'm privileged and happy to go and represent the American League."
Price, who is 11-4 with a 2.92 ERA, picked up his latest win on Friday night when he outdueled Tigers ace Justin Verlander in a 4-2 Rays win. In 11 career regular-season starts against former Cy Young Award winners, the Rays ace is 7-1 with a 2.24 ERA, and the Rays have won 10 of those 11 games.
Price has worked seven innings or more in nine of his last 11 starts, and he has allowed two runs or fewer in 11 of his 16 starts this season.
Price was removed from Friday night's game due to precautionary reasons before the start of the eighth inning with lower-back tightness. Rays manager Joe Maddon did not dismiss the possibility on Saturday of having the 26-year-old miss the All-Star Game if they feel his back is an issue. However, Price threw on Sunday and said his back felt fine.
Maddon did not foresee either Price or Rodney being used in the All-Star Game as an issue.
"I don't know what David's turn is going into that, but, I think he's actually in pretty good shape going into the All-Star Game," Maddon said. "So everything being well with him, he should be able to pitch there, and definitely Fernando, so I'll be watching."
Rodney signed with the Rays as a free agent on Jan. 4, and has been one of the team's most valuable players. This will be his first selection to the All-Star Game.
"I'm happy," Rodney said. "It's going to be something for all of my family, all the fans, everybody who follows me."
After saving just 17 games for the Angels in 2010 and 2011, Rodney has notched 22 in 23 save opportunities for the Rays this season.
"I say thank you God for the opportunity with the Tampa team," Rodney said. "And thanks to Joe Maddon for giving me the opportunity to be the closer this year."
Maddon pointed to fastball command as the reason for Rodney's return to the form that saw him notch 37 saves for the Tigers in 2009.
"If he's throwing strikes with his fastball, and you get behind, and then here comes the changeup," Maddon said. "When a guy's got another devastating pitch like he has, a lot of times you want to attack that guy early with his fastball. So, if you're going to start taking fastball strikes on him that makes him even more effective. Because he still has this and has what, this 20-mph differential between pitches."
Rodney is the ninth player acquired by Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations, through free agency, draft or trade to make his first All-Star team while on the Rays. He joins Matt Joyce, Ben Zobrist, Carlos Pena, David Price, Evan Longoria, Rafael Soriano, Jason Bartlett, and Dioner Navarro.
In addition, Rodney is the 12th different Rays player to make the All-Star team since 2008. Only one team has had more All-Stars over the past five seasons -- the Red Sox, with 16.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.