07/08/2004 11:34 PM ET
Vazquez added to AL All-Star team
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
|Javier Vazquez is 9-5 with a 3.50 ERA in 17 starts this season. (Chris Carlson/AP)
NEW YORK -- Shortly before the Yankees' game against the Devil Rays on Thursday night, Javier Vazquez was hanging out in the trainer's room with a few teammates, enjoying some down time.
Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre ended all of that, informing the right-hander that his presence was requested in manager Joe Torre's office.
"I told him, very seriously, 'Javy, I've got to see you. Bring your money with you,'" Stottlemyre said. "He followed me into Joe's office and I closed the door."
Torre, playing along with Stottlemyre, also had a serious face on, as Vazquez wondered what possible offense he could have committed.
"I thought, 'I haven't done anything wrong,'" Vazquez said. "I didn't know what it was about.'"
He found out soon enough, as Torre broke the news that he had been selected to replace Tim Hudson on the American League All-Star team, the first time in his career that he will take part in the Midsummer Classic.
"He didn't know what he did wrong," Torre said. "When I told him he was an All-Star, he looked at Mel like he wanted to kill him."
"You had to see the look on his face when Joe told him he'd made the All-Star team," Stottlemyre said. "He was a happy man."
Hudson, who was selected on the players' ballot, won't be able to pitch in the game because of a strained oblique muscle that has kept him on the disabled list since June 25. Since Hudson was a players' selection, his replacement had to come from that same list.
"I'm honored. It's nice to go to my first All-Star Game," Vazquez said. "It's going to be a great feeling for me, to be around those guys that have been All-Stars so many times."
Boston's Pedro Martinez was the first name after Hudson on the list, but he informed the league that he had already made plans and would prefer to skip the event. Vazquez, who followed Martinez on the players' ballot, was more than happy to rearrange his schedule.
"They told me today, it was just too late," Martinez said on Thursday night. "I would have loved to do it, but I had already made plans. I would have loved to go."
"Pedro was the next one on the list, but he asked not to go, because by the time he was asked, he had already made plans for the break," Torre said. "Right under Pedro was Javy."
Vazquez, 27, is 9-5 with a 3.50 ERA in 17 starts this season, his first in the American League. The right-hander ranks sixth in the league in wins, seventh in ERA, fifth in opponents' batting average (.234) and 10th in strikeouts (86).
"He was on my All-Star list," Stottlemyre said. "He's been our most consistent guy in the first half. He hasn't been before, so he was real excited."
"He deserves it," said Derek Jeter. "He has been our most consistent starter this year, and he's got great stuff. Coming over from the other league, he's done a great job."
Three Yankees -- Jeter, Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez -- were elected by the fans to start for the AL, while two others -- Gary Sheffield and Mariano Rivera -- were put on the All-Star team by their peers.
Torre, who is also managing the AL squad, added right-hander Tom Gordon to the roster with one of his two at-large picks.
Wednesday, outfielder Hideki Matsui was voted as the AL's final player, beating out four others in the Ameriquest 2004 All-Star Final Vote to become the seventh Yankee on the team. Now, with the addition of Vazquez, New York boasts eight of the 32 players, giving the Yankees 25 percent of the AL's roster.
"It's going to be fun being with them," Vazquez said. "I know I'm not going to be alone in the clubhouse with a lot of strangers."
Torre stressed that the decision to add Vazquez was not his, as he was simply informed who was next on the players' ballot.
"I did not make this decision," Torre said. "We decided to use the list, and we'll continue to use it if we have other scratches."
The eight Yankees are the most selected for an All-Star Game in Torre's nine years as manager, topping the six that went in both 2001 and 2002.
The last team to have eight All-Stars was the 2001 Seattle Mariners. Before that, no club had eight All-Stars since the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates. New York has sent nine players to the All-Star Game five times, though one of them came in 1959, when there were two All-Star Games played. The other years were 1939, 1942, 1947 and 1958.
Only three other times did the Yankees send eight players to the Midsummer Classic, doing so in 1950, 1957 and 1961, though two games were played in the last of those years.
"I never thought about these things, I just go about my business," said Vazquez. "I came here to win, but to be selected is great."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.