AL analysis: Girardi proud to pick Yanks
A-Rod, Sabathia and perhaps Pettitte headed to Anaheim
NEW YORK -- While Joe Girardi went through the experience of preparing for his first All-Star Game as a manager, one nagging thought was that no matter what he did, somebody was going to wind up left out.
There was no getting around that fact, even as the Yankees' manager spent nights scrolling through statistics, trying to whittle down what selections were entrusted to him. But when someone mentioned that even with twice as many picks, he might still skip a solid name, Girardi agreed and came away with a roster he thinks can win.
"It's fun," Girardi said of the process. "Some of the decisions are made for you, because there are teams that aren't represented. As I've said all along, you don't want to disappoint people. There's a lot of guys that are deserving that don't get a chance to go.
"There's a lot of great players in our league, and the fact that we don't take 40 or 50, there's going to be people left off. That part of it is hard for me, but that will pass. I know I made some people really happy, too."
As the AL manager, Girardi had seven selections in his hands, though five of them were made to accommodate teams that had no other representatives.
Those selections included second baseman Ty Wigginton of the Orioles, starting pitchers Trevor Cahill of the Athletics and Fausto Carmona of the Indians and relievers Joakim Soria of the Royals and Matt Thornton of the White Sox.
With his remaining two choices, Girardi had no qualms about looking to his own lineup.
"The good thing about being the manager of the All-Star Game is you do get a couple picks," Girardi said. "Obviously, you're going to look at your guys first. You know exactly what they can do, and if things are equal, you can take a look at your guys."
Girardi did, selecting third baseman Alex Rodriguez for the slugger's 13th All-Star Game and naming lefty CC Sabathia to his fourth, with the intention of replacing Sabathia -- who will not be able to participate after he pitches next Sunday at Seattle -- with fellow Yanks lefty Andy Pettitte.
"The one thing about being the manager is, and knowing your rotation, you know who's throwing on Sunday and you know a lot of other guys who are throwing on Sunday," Girardi said.
"I thought CC was very deserving, as well as Andy. Andy is very deserving. I would hate the fact that one guy wouldn't make it because he was pitching on Sunday. In this case, we could have a couple of left-handers."
Girardi said that he justified the selection of Rodriguez by scanning the list of the AL RBI leaders. Entering play on Sunday, Rodriguez's 61 RBIs were third only to the Rangers' Vladimir Guerrero (70) and the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera (68), both All-Stars.
Three of the next four players behind Rodriguez -- Josh Hamilton (59), Paul Konerko (57), Evan Longoria (56) and Robinson Cano (55) -- are all also going to Anaheim, with Konerko a Final Vote candidate.
"I think a lot of times, people look at Alex as a home run hitter," Girardi said. "The fact that he's got 12 home runs, I think people think that he's having a down year. With only 12 home runs, he's third in the league in RBIs. Everyone that's surrounding him is going to the All-Star Game -- two guys in front and a couple of guys behind him -- so I thought he was deserving."
Girardi offered a thumbs-up to the millions of fans who helped shape his AL lineup, which included Cano at second base and Derek Jeter at shortstop.
"I thought they were pretty good," Girardi said. "They picked a lot of good players for me. I can't really argue with any of their picks. ... I have a very good team, a deep team. You look at the National League team, and it's deep. You see a lot of young, powerful starting pitchers on both sides.
"I feel good about our team. We have two starters in it in Robbie and Derek, and it's a thrill for both of them. They're deserving, and I'm excited about it."
Girardi said that he plans to try to get most of his ALers into the game at some point, while still trying to do "pretty much everything we can to win."
Girardi plans to discuss his probable starting pitcher at a later date.
"That is something that we're going to have to talk about -- who is going to be the starter," Girardi said. "There are a lot of guys that have had really good first halves in our division, so that's something that we will talk about. ... Every pitcher is probably going to have a pretty good chance of pitching."
Preparing to bring his coaching staff and at least six of his players -- and perhaps two more, if Pettitte replaces Sabathia and if Nick Swisher wins the AL Final Vote -- to Anaheim, Girardi wasn't about to predict victory, but he certainly doesn't want to be at the helm for the first NL win since 1996.
"I think it's two very talented teams with a lot of great young pitching going into the All-Star Game," Girardi said. "It should be, and you would think it will be, a very competitive game."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.