Peers give Webb first All-Star nod
Righty voted in by players, managers and coaches
OAKLAND -- The Diamondbacks made Brandon Webb their staff ace prior to the season.His fellow National Leaguers made him an All-Star on Sunday. Webb, who is Arizona's lone representative, was voted to the NL's All-Star roster on the ballot filled out by NL players, managers and coaches. It will be the right-hander's first All-Star appearance. "I was excited," said Webb, who tossed a complete game in Arizona's 3-1 win over the A's on Sunday. "It was definitely something I was hoping I would get a chance to be in. I didn't know for sure if I was going to make it or not, you know the beginning of the season went well for me, but the last month didn't go as well. I'm definitely excited to go represent the Diamondbacks and the National League there." The All-Star Game, to be held at Pittsburgh's PNC Park on Tuesday, July 11, at 5 p.m. MST, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage, and MLB Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet. The D-Backs have Thursday off, which means Webb's next turn in the rotation would come Saturday in Colorado. However, if NL skipper Phil Garner wants to use Webb as the NL's starting pitcher, D-Backs manager Bob Melvin would look to start Webb on Friday and bump Miguel Batista back a day to Saturday. That would give Webb three days rest for Tuesday's Midsummer Classic. Webb won his first eight decisions this year and through May 31, had a league-best 2.01 ERA. At that same time, he was putting together a club-record 30 straight scoreless innings over three starts. Webb was informed of his selection prior to Sunday's game when Melvin called him into his office. Winless in his last six starts, Webb celebrated the news with a complete-game victory over the Oakland A's. He allowed only one earned run, lowering his ERA to 2.72, and picked up his ninth victory of the season. "I had no clue what he was getting ready to tell me," Webb said. "I totally forgot about [the team] being picked today." After going 14-12 a year ago and leading the staff in wins, innings (229) and ERA (3.55), the team gave Webb a four-year contract extension that is worth a guaranteed $19.5 million and includes a team option for 2010. "Every good team has a guy at the top like him," Melvin said. "Every time he goes out there, we feel like we have a great chance to win."
The All-Star selection news was bittersweet for the Arizona clubhouse, as catcher Johnny Estrada did not make the team."I was definitely surprised," Webb said. "We were pretty shocked about that. If I made it, I was looking forward to him maybe getting a chance to catch me." Estrada, who is hitting .317 with 15 doubles, six homers and 44 RBIs, lost out to the Mets' Paul Lo Duca and the Braves' Brian McCann. "I'm disappointed, of course," Estrada said. "I would love to be catching Webby in the All-Star Game. Sometimes, it's a popularity contest and it depends on the market you play in and, of course, we're in a small market. If you look at the numbers, I deserve to go. "It's not every year that I'm going to have the opportunity to make an All-Star team, but there's nothing I can do about it. I'm going to go somewhere with my family. I could use four days off mentally." Webb becomes the fourth Arizona pitcher to be selected for the All-Star Game in franchise history. Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Byung-Hyung Kim have received invitations in the past. The D-Backs' lone representative in last year's game was outfielder Luis Gonzalez.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.