ANAHEIM, Calif. » Ubaldo Jimenez is always eager to share his accomplishments with a support system that runs from Denver to the Dominican Republic.
His home nation and adopted hometown will be tuned in when Jimenez takes the mound for one of his most memorable outings yet. The Colorado ace will start for the National League in the All-Star Game, while the AL will counter with Tampa Bay’s David Price.
In this year of the pitcher, Jimenez was a fitting pick yesterday by Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
"One of the great talents in baseball and he’s a treat to watch pitch," Manuel said of choosing Jimenez over Florida’s Josh Johnson. "This guy’s 15-1. His record speaks for itself."
The NL will try today to end a 13-year drought in baseball’s Midsummer Classic. Jimenez has a 2.20 ERA in 18 starts and 127 innings for the surging Rockies. Price is 12-4 with a 2.42 ERA. Johnson is 9-3 with a majors-best 1.70 ERA for the Marlins.
"I said Jimenez from the beginning," Johnson said. "He was my pick."
Jimenez’s parents will be in the stands at Angel Stadium, along with his host family from Colorado and other family and friends.
"Any little thing is going to be huge for your career," Jimenez said. "It’s just a huge honor for me to be out here. Hopefully we can put everything together and break the losing streak."
There was some confusion, however, about Boston third baseman Adrian Beltre. AL manager Joe Girardi announced that Texas third baseman Michael Young would replace Beltre, who left Sunday’s game at Toronto with a strained left hamstring.
But less than an hour later, Beltre said he planned to play. He worked out at Angel Stadium yesterday afternoon and was deemed ready to go.
MLB executive Phyllis Merhige said an announcement about Beltre’s status was made prematurely.
"They announced it without telling me," Beltre said. "I’m think I’m going to play and I’m going to be on the active roster."