All-Star Game journal: Experience 'surreal' for Rays' Corey Dickerson

Rays DH and American League All-Star starter Corey Dickerson, center, is batting seventh in tonight’s game.
Rays DH and American League All-Star starter Corey Dickerson, center, is batting seventh in tonight’s game.
Published July 11, 2017

MIAMI — Rays DH/OF Corey Dickerson had known for more than a week he had made the American League All-Star team, but that didn't make it any less staggering when he walked into the AL clubhouse for the first time Monday.

"I think that was one of the coolest moments I ever had playing baseball," Dickerson said. "It's pretty surreal. It's a weird feeling, but you know you're on that level, that you put up the numbers or you put up the work to be here."

Dickerson will bat seventh tonight, AL manager Brad Mills noting "even though he's a leadoff guy" the quality of his at-bats make him a good fit there.

"His ability to lengthen out at-bats, and then as the at-bat goes take the ball the other way, he's been pretty special," Mills said.

RHP Chris Archer, the other Rays All-Star, said he is available despite throwing 108 pitches Sunday, though he is likely to be the last or second to last option before Houston RHP Lance McCullers, the Tampa product.

"If they want me to pitch, need me to pitch, I will," Archer said. "I know I'm probably a little bit lower on the priority list just due to I threw (Sunday), so nobody wants to abuse anybody. But if they need me to come in and get an out, two, three I feel like I can do that today, so another 24 hours I feel certain."

Cash will be busy

Rays manager Kevin Cash will be the bench coach for Mills, who is filling in for Indians boss Terry Francona, who is recovering from a heart procedure. Cash will primarily keep track of player and pitcher usage, such as complying with team-requested limits. Plus, he took part in Monday's meeting with MLB officials to go over specifics. "It's a pretty unique learning experience," he said. Mills said he welcomed Cash's help and, though not at Francona's level, expected some laughs. "I'm going to try to," Mills said, "but he's probably going to reverse it on me as much as he can."

This time it doesn't count

After 14 years of having the All-Star Game, against all logic, determine homefield advantage for the World Series, the game is now back to being an exhibition. "I kind of like this format right now," said NL manager Joe Maddon, who led the 2009 AL team after taking the Rays to the Series. "Under these circumstances. I'm attempting to choreograph it in advance who is going to play when, position players as well as pitchers."

Quote of the day

"Pretty fortunate for a .183 hitter to be around some of these guys."

Cash, on being an All-Star coach

Archer, Betts as fly guys

Rays RHP Chris Archer created a stir with social media posts suggesting he and Boston OF Mookie Betts flew a private five-seat plane from Tampa to Miami. While they took turns in the cockpit, there was a real pilot in charge, and a PR push from jet-maker Cirrus Aircraft touting the trip quickly distributed. "They let us sit in the cockpit and act as the co-pilot," Archer said. "Mookie actually did operate the plane a little bit. I was sitting up there when we were landing but I wasn't really touching anything."

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Talking Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred said at a town hall meeting that he remains optimistic about the Rays stadium search and that MLB remains "committed" to the Tampa Bay market. "We think it's a good market for us," he said. "We want to be in Florida. I have told (principal owner Stuart Sternberg) that I will do anything and everything I can to help move that process along."

News and notes

. Boston LHP Chris Sale will be the 16th pitcher to start consecutive All-Star Games but the first to do so for different teams, having been acquired from the White Sox. Washington RHP Max Scherzer will make his second.

. Playing to the hometown crowd, Maddon chose Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton as the DH.

. This will be the first of the 88 All-Star Games to be played in Florida.