MINNEAPOLIS -- Jeff Samardzija’s first All-Star experience was about as unique as they come. It’s surely one he won’t forget.
The ex-Cubs pitcher was announced with the National League All-Star team and then headed over to the American League dugout to join his new Oakland A’s teammates. Though he was picked to play in the game, Samardzija, who was traded to the A’s on July 4, couldn’t participate. So after he spent part of the pregame with former NL teammates, the right-hander headed to the AL clubhouse.
“It was pretty wild,” Samardzija said. “Unsettling I’d say because I couldn’t just hang out and get comfortable anywhere. I did the whole introduction and then went over to the AL side and once I put my A’s jersey and hang out with the team I was going to be with I was able to take a deep breath. But it was kind of weird to be out there in a blue shirt when everybody was wearing gray.
“You just kind of put a smile on and enjoy it and I had a great time, my first time here. It was awesome.”
As if it weren’t awkward enough, Samardzija’s former teammates, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, went head-to-head with A’s pitcher Sean Doolittle in the eighth inning. Doolittle struck out both.
“He’s got a power fastball and a great slider and he’s not scared,” Samardzija said. “He pounds the zone and makes you do something with it.”
Rizzo and Castro both gushed about their All-Star experiences even though both were limited. Castro played from the bottom of the sixth inning on while Rizzo had just the pinch-hit at-bat.
Both thoroughly enjoyed the Derek Jeter experience with Rizzo saying it gave him more goose bumps than he expected.
Sale hangs with Buehrle
Chris Sale said he spent a good amount of time with ex-White Sox teammate Mark Buehrle over the two days. They two caught up while shagging fly balls during batting practice on Monday. Sale would love if his career path ends up similar to Buehrle’s.
“I hope it looks something like his,” Sale said. “I don’t think I’ll ever win a Gold Glove, Im not known for my defensive skills. He’s hit a home run, won a World Series, was an All-Star, was a reliever, starter, 200 innings. You can write a book about him.”
Buehrle is 10-6 with a 2.64 ERA this season and earned his first All-Star selection since 2009 and fifth overall. The Toronto pitcher didn’t appear in the game.
They said it
-- Jeter was informed during a postgame press conference that St. Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright said he grooved two pitches to Jeter in their first-inning showdown, one that resulted in a Jeter double to right.
“He grooved them?” Jeter said. “The first was a little cutter he threw down and away. He probably assumed I was swing, so he didn’t groove the first one.
The second one was about 98 two-seamer that stayed on really good --- I don’t know, man. If he grooved it, thank you. You still have to hit it. I appreciate if that’s what he did, thank you.”
-- A reporter asked Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera whether or not he’d vote for Los Angeles’ Mike Trout for the AL MVP award this season. Cabrera, who has beat Trout in each of the last two AL MVP votes, smiled before answering.
“I don’t vote,” Cabrera said. “I play. You vote. That’s not my job.”
-- Texas pitcher Yu Darvish threw an eephus pitch during a third-inning matchup with Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki. The 57-mph pitch went for a ball. Tulowitzki lined out to left.
-- Ex-Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez singled, scored a run and made a nice bare-handed stop and throw to rob Kansas City’s Salvador Perez of a hit --- all in the second inning. Ramirez later misplayed a Trout bouncer into an RBI double and doubled himself in his final at-bat. Ramirez finished 2-for-3.