Torre names right-hander to replace injured Schilling
By Justice B. Hill / MLB.com
Right-hander Jake Westbrook faces the Royals in the series finale on Sunday. (Jeff Glidden/AP)
CLEVELAND -- Jake Westbrook had his All-Star break planned out. He was going back to Georgia with his family, and he even had dinner set for Monday with his grandparents.
He was looking forward to it. But all of those plans changed Saturday morning.
"We're gonna have to cancel," Westbrook told his grandparents. "I made the All-Star team."
He wasn't joking either. Westbrook became the fifth member of the Indians to land a spot on the American League All-Star team. He joined Matt Lawton, Victor Martinez, Ronnie Belliard and C.C. Sabathia on the squad.
Besides altering his three-day break, Joe Torre's decision to select Westbrook, who fills a spot that Red Sox right-hander Curt Schilling had to give up because of an injury, left the 25-year-old right-hander on an emotional high.
Jake Westbrook / P
Weight: 215 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
"It's an awesome feeling," said Westbrook, whose record is 6-4 with a 3.21 ERA. "I'm very excited. I can't put it into words. It's just a pretty awesome feeling."
In announcing Westbrook's selection, Torre said he remembered Westbrook from his days as a Yankees prospect.
"I remember him sitting on my couch in Spring Training, and when we told him he was pitching a Spring Training game, he was thrilled to death," Torre said. "He's come a long way.
"He's had some problems, some physical ones, going up and down to the minor leagues, and now he's invited to go to the All-Star Game. I think it's great."
Westbrook wouldn't dispute that assessment. Nor is he going to keep his plans. He's apologized already to his grandparents.
"It was good and bad news," Westbrook said. "They were excited for me to come home. But it's a good thing as well, because of the reason I won't be able to come home."
He started the season in the bullpen, and he's come a long way from there.
"I just waited for an opportunity to go out there and show 'em what I could do," Westbrook said. "I acquired a lot of confidence in that game against Detroit -- with those seven perfect innings. I just kinda caught a roll from there."
That roll has landed Westbrook an All-Star spot. Since he pitched Thursday night, he looks like a prime candidate to see some action. He will be well rested, much more than Sabathia, the other Indians pitcher on the team. He'll also be nervous.
In his own words, he is already.
"It's not too soon for me to feel nervous, because I definitely got mixed emotions about actually going there," he said. "I definitely want to go, but nervous about actually pitching in it. But I'm excited, too. It's the All-Star Game, and I'll definitely be ready to pitch."
Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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