ARLINGTON -- Alexi Ogando made the American League All-Star team, after all.
Ogando, who was left off the initial roster by Rangers and AL manager Ron Washington, replaced Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia on Sunday.Because Sabathia pitched on Sunday, he was deemed ineligible to participate in the game. Major League Baseball rules prohibit pitchers who start the Sunday before the All-Star Game from being on rosters for the Midsummer Classic. Sabathia would have also been a replacement had he been eligible, taking the spot of Rays right-hander James Shields, who also pitched on Sunday. Sabathia's Yankees were facing Shields' Rays.
Ogando said his manager let him know something could be in the works."He told me to be aware because something could happen the way everything was set up with the starters and everything," Ogando said through a translator. "I was waiting, and it is amazing for me." In cases like these, where one player drops out of the game, the player at the same position with the next-highest player-ballot vote total is named the replacement, and in this case, that was Ogando. "I've always said that this game has surprises for me, and of course I'm very happy," Ogando said. Ogando finished the first half with nine wins, tied for the team lead, and a 2.92 ERA in 104 2/3 innings. He will make his first All-Star Game appearance, joining his teammates Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, C.J. Wilson and Michael Young at the game. The honor is the latest achievement in Ogando's improbable season. In Spring Training, he was only moved into the starting rotation when Tommy Hunter injured his groin. He not only pitched well enough to force Hunter to the bullpen, he now finds himself representing the best players in the American League. Not bad for a player that was a reliever for the Rangers' Dominican League affiliate two years ago. "As I said, baseball is full of surprises, but I never imagined two years ago that I would be here, but now I'm happy to be here," Ogando said.
Louie Horvath is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.