Tampa Bay Rays' Carlos Pena added to the All-Star team; replaces Pedroia
It looks like Rays first baseman Carlos Pena's dream will come true.
Pena has been added to the American League All-Star team, replacing Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who plans to be with his wife to deal with a "serious family health matter."
With Pedroia out, Rays manager Joe Maddon, leading the AL squad, made the selection to add Pena, calling him late Saturday night to break the news. Pena said he had dozed off, trying to get his daughter, Isabella, to sleep, when his wife told him he had a "million missed calls from Joe."
"I'm in shock," Pena said. "It's a miracle. I'm extremely grateful."
Pena, who leads the AL in home runs with 24, will also take part in Monday's Home Run Derby at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Pena was on the Final Man ballot for the final spot on the All-Star team, but finished fourth on the five-man ballot. The Rays had made a "Vote 'Los" campaign, with billboards, t-shirts and laptops around the stadium.
Though there were other worthy candidates, including Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler, Maddon said that with Pena leading the AL in home runs, he deserves to be at the All-Star game.
"I have to believe who ever leads the league in home runs normally belongs in an All-Star game," Maddon said. "And the fact he hadn't been on the team yet bothered me just a little bit, so for whatever reason, it all worked out well."
Maddon said Jays second baseman Aaron Hill will start and Ben Zobrist could back up at second, with Rangers Michael Young also an option.
It will be his first All-Star game. With Pena on board, it will mean the Rays will have their entire infield on the All-Star team, the first club to do so since the 2002 Yankees.
Pena is hitting .230, but has 58 walks and 58 RBI.
-- JOE SMITH