For the second consecutive year, Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann will watch the All-Star game from afar despite being named to the squad. This time, a biceps cramp will take him out of action and led him to be replaced by the Miami Marlins' Henderson Alvarez for the Midsummer Classic.
Zimmermann, who missed last year's game with a stiff neck, had been the only National on the NL All-Star team, something the leading team in the NL East was not at all happy about. In particular, the omission of closer Rafael Soriano and infielder Anthony Rendon has seriously irked the players -- with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman threatening to boycott the game if the latter didn't make the roster -- who found themselves in varying states of disbelief when the team was announced.
"It's a joke, to be honest with you," reliever Tyler Clippard told the Washington Post, "I don't know who's going to make it. I'm sure there's a lot of worthy guys out there in the league. But what Soriano has done this year, there's no way he doesn't make the all-star team, in my opinion. It's incredible that he didn't make it."
Even if he was named by St. Louis Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny -- whom Nationals manager Matt Williams was supposed to speak with Saturday morning -- to the team as an injury replacement, Soriano has said he wouldn't accept it. The closer told the Post, "If the manager comes and tells me tomorrow, I'll say I'm not going because I don't want to be given anything. Things are not given, they're earned. And if it's by numbers, look up at the numbers of all the closers."
For his part, the Marlins' Alvarez is plenty deserving of a bid to the All-Star team, posting a solid 2.63 ERA in 19 starts with three shutouts, which -- along with the three accompanying complete games -- leads the majors this season.