“The big board containing the National League All-Stars’ starting lineup was unveiled and it wasn’t a surprise to see that Ryan Howard was the designated hitter and batting cleanup.
Charlie Manuel, who is running the NL team, unabashedly looks out for his own. And since he had the discretion to decide who to use at DH, it figured that he would use his own guy.
The Phillies manager, however, insisted that more than nepotism was involved.
“Not only he’s my guy, but he’s got 119 at-bats against lefthanded pitchers and six homers and 20 RBI,” he said. “He can hit them. He’s hit the most home runs in the National League the last 3 or 4 years. He’s hitting .294. He’s very capable of hitting fourth in the All-Star lineup.”
Gee, Manuel must have expected the question. He didn’t miss a stat, although he neglected to mention that Howard is hitting .320 against righthanders this year compared to .244 against lefties. Lefthander David Price will start for the American League.
This will be Howard’s third All-Star appearance. What makes this year different is that he opted out of last night’s Home Run Derby.
“You run around nervous and anxious. Now I’m just going to sit back, relax and watch the show. It’s a different feel to it,” he said. “It’s always great to be selected to the All-Star Game. It’s a fun time. It’s just exciting to be part of the game. It’s fun to go to battle with guys you usually play against.”
It will also be fun to go to battle with Roy Halladay on his side rather than pitching for the American League as he did for so many years.”
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