Major Leagues: Hoffman, Duke, Pena added as replacements in All-Star game
ST. LOUIS ó Trevor Hoffman was supposed to take his sons fishing. Instead, they’re all headed back to the All-Star game.
The career saves leader was a late addition to the National League squad, joining Pittsburgh pitcher Zach Duke and Tampa Bay first baseman Carlos Pena as players picked Sunday to replace All-Stars unable to participate Tuesday night.
Hoffman, in his first season with the Milwaukee Brewers, will substitute for Los Angeles Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton, who has an injured toe.
“You relish the opportunity,” Hoffman said. “You don’t know how often these come along.”
The 41-year-old reliever said his sons ó Brody, Quinn and Wyatt ó didn’t mind dad’s sudden change of All-Star break plans from fishing for three days in Wisconsin to a jam-packed trip to St. Louis.
“My kids are really excited. They’ve gotten older and been to quite a few, but they’re starting to understand the dynamics that are part of it,” Hoffman said. “It was a pretty easy sell.”
Duke also was added to the NL staff. He replaces San Francisco starter Matt Cain, who took a line drive off his right arm Saturday night.
Pena takes the AL roster spot of Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia, elected by fans to start. His wife, Kelli, is seven months pregnant and has been in the hospital since Monday with complications.
“It’s pretty tough. Obviously, I’ve got to be with my wife right now. That’s more important,” Pedroia said. “I’m extremely honored to be selected by the fans. I wish I could be there but I hope everybody understands.”
American League manager Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays said Toronto’s Aaron Hill will start at second in place of Pedroia, last year’s league MVP.
“I hope that everything is OK with his family,” Pena said. “Obviously, that’s the most important thing.”
The addition of Pena means Tampa Bay’s entire infield is on the team, including third baseman Evan Longoria, shortstop Jason Bartlett and second baseman Ben Zobrist.
The last club to put four infielders in the All-Star game was the 2002 New York Yankees, with first baseman Jason Giambi, second baseman Alfonso Soriano, shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Robin Ventura.
The Philadelphia Phillies, who beat Tampa Bay in the World Series last year, are sending all three outfielders to the Midsummer Classic: Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth.
“I’m extremely humbled by this opportunity,” Pena said. “What I like is the fact that I was chosen by my own manager. That’s what means the most to me. I want to experience the whole thing. I’m thrilled.”
Maddon chose Pena over Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler, left off the All-Star team despite excellent statistics.
Pena was leading the league with 24 homers. He will take part in the Home Run Derby on Monday night, rounding out an AL field that also includes Minnesota’s Joe Mauer, Detroit’s Brandon Inge and Texas’ Nelson Cruz.
“I would have to believe that anyone leading the league in hitting home runs normally belongs in the All-Star game,” Maddon said. “The fact he hadn’t been on the team yet was bothering me just a little bit.”
Swinging for the Busch Stadium fences from the National League will be four powerful first basemen: St. Louis’ Albert Pujols, Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard, Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder and San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez.
Hoffman signed a $6 million, one-year contract with the Brewers after spending most of his career in San Diego. He was 1-1 with a 2.05 ERA and had converted 20 of 22 save chances after securing career save No. 574 on Saturday night in a 6-3 win over the Dodgers.
It is Hoffman’s seventh All-Star selection.
“I don’t know if it’s really sunk in yet,” he said. “There’s some satisfaction in knowing there hasn’t been a drop-off.”
Broxton was set to make his first appearance, but has an irritated nerve on his right toe and needed a shot. He is 6-0 with a 3.10 ERA and 20 saves, but had given up five runs in his last two appearances. The right-hander is expected to attend the festivities in St. Louis.
Duke, an All-Star for the first time, is 8-8 with a 3.29 ERA and three complete games. The left-hander joins Pirates teammate Freddy Sanchez on the NL squad.
A Giants spokesman said X-rays of Cain’s pitching arm showed no significant damage and the injury was diagnosed as a bruise.
Also a first-time All-Star, Cain is 10-2 with a 2.38 ERA.