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Alvarez replaces Zimmermann, leaving Nats without All-Star

Jul 12, 2014, 3:03 PM EST

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Updated at 8:13 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA — The 102-loss, 2008 Nationals had All-Star Cristian Guzman. The 103-loss, 2009 Nationals had All-Star Ryan Zimmerman.

The first-place, 2014 Nationals, however, will have no active players at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game after injured right-hander Jordan Zimmermann was replaced today by Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez.

NL manager Mike Matheny of the defending league champion Cardinals, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, announced Zimmermann’s replacement this afternoon, selecting Alvarez over several potential alternatives off the Nationals’ pitching staff in a decision that didn’t sit well within Washington’s clubhouse, though players were hesitant to say anything derogatory on the record.

“No comment,” shortstop Ian Desmond said, before adding: “It’s good. That means four days off for all of our guys. Selfishly, I’ll take that.”

Matheny was under no obligation to select another Nationals player, because as long as Zimmermann attends the festivities in Minneapolis, he officially will be representing his franchise. The right-hander, selected to his second consecutive All-Star Game on Sunday, had to depart Friday night’s start against the Phillies with biceps cramping. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI today, the results of which will determine the club’s plan moving forward, but no matter the diagnosis he won’t be cleared to pitch in the Midsummer Classic.

Manager Matt Williams spoke with Matheny on Friday afternoon, before the Nationals’ game, wondering whether the Cardinals manager planned to use Zimmermann on Tuesday. Once Zimmermann was injured, Williams texted Matheny on Friday night to inform his counterpart of the situation. As of Saturday afternoon, Matheny had not responded.

“I talked to Mike yesterday prior to the game and was asking about Jordan and whether he was for sure going to give him an inning and what his plans were,” Williams said. “He said yeah, he planned on it. I texted him last night and let him know that I had to take Jordan out of the game, but I haven’t heard from him since. They’re playing right now, so he’s really busy too, so I haven’t heard back anything from him yet.”

So, a Nationals club that enters play tonight with a 49-42 record, tied with the Braves atop the NL East, will have no active players at the All-Star Game. Meanwhile, eight other clubs with losing records will send multiple players to Minnesota: the Marlins, Cubs, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, White Sox, Twins and Rangers.

Several members of the Nationals organization already were upset when Zimmermann was named the team’s lone All-Star last weekend, citing the merits of closer Rafael Soriano (1.00 ERA, 21-of-23 saves), setup men Drew Storen (1.24 ERA) and Tyler Clippard (1.85 ERA) and starters Doug Fister (8-2, 2.90 ERA) and Stephen Strasburg (7-6, 3.47 ERA, NL-leading 140 strikeouts).

“Why not take Clippard? He’s got good numbers,” said Soriano, who reiterated he would not have accepted an invitation to attend as a replacement after not being among the initial selections. “Maybe Drew. He’s got good numbers, too.”

Any one of those pitchers had a case to be selected as Zimmermann’s replacement. In the end, Matheny and MLB went with Alvarez, who owns a 6-4 record with a 2.63 ERA in 19 starts (including an NL-best three shutouts).

The Nationals also had at least two position players with cases for selection: Anthony Rendon (.283, 13 homers, 52 RBI, .825 OPS) and Adam LaRoche (.290, 12 homers, 47 RBI, .395 on-base percentage, .970 OPS).

Williams remained diplomatic when asked if he thought Zimmermann’s replacement should have come from the same team, the one that entered play Saturday in first place.

“That’s not up to me,” he said. “I’m worried about trying to figure out Cole [Hamels] and see if we can win this one tonight and win the one tomorrow. But we have a representative there. [Zimmerman] is our representative. Just because he’s not going to be able to participate doesn’t take anything away from that.”

  1. Candide - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    Just saw this:

    Capital Sports Fcst ‏@NatsWx 31m
    I will be joining Ryan Zimmerman in boycotting the ASG. Not worth my time. I’ll watch the Home Run Derby and the Futures game, but not ASG.

    Can’t find confirmation at this point.

  2. Hiram Hover - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    I hope JZim is ok. I really don’t give a rat’s patoot about the ASG.

    If the players do, then let them go out this weekend and play like they have something to prove.

  3. Candide - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Maybe the night of the All-Star Game would be a good night to fire up Netflix and watch a Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie. See how the advertisers like the fact that no one in DC is watching the game that they’re paying big bucks to air commercials on.

    • NatsLady - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      I think Word Press removed your comment because of the title of the movie….

      • Candide - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        No, it’s down there as a reply to your note on “Battered bastards of Baseball.”

  4. karlkolchak - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    It’s a little early to say this, but I hope Matheny just gave the Nats the ultimate “billboard material” should they face his team in the playoffs again.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      Great point!

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:09 PM

      I think he did. Fister’s numbers are better than Alverez.

    • rayvil01 - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:04 PM

      Good call.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    I call BULLSH-T on Matheny!

  6. NatsLady - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    Apprently this documentary is on Netflix and worth watching on Tuesday night.

    https://twitter.com/MavsDoc

    • NatsLady - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      Or, you the SABR minded among you can watch these.

      http://sabr.org/latest/watch-sabr-panels-2014-mlb-all-star-fanfest-minnesota

      I can make progress on Sabermetrics 101, which got neglected while I was on vacation.

    • Candide - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:48 PM

      Well, I was thinking I would stream “Night of the Blood Beast” and “SoulTaker” on MysteryScience Theater 3000 that night, but how could I NOT watch a documentary with a title like,”The Battered Bastards of Baseball”?

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    I can understand mike replacing a pitcher with pitcher but are you telling me that not one of nats pitchers qualify for the big game besides JZ?

    • Candide - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      Obviously, Metheny learned all he needed to know about Soriano from reading the Soriano haters here.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:10 PM

      Apparently we have no qualified person.

  8. natsguy - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Anybody know how to write the commish with a complaint. This really sucks. MLB should be ashamed.

    1st screwed over by MASN and now ASG. MLB really sucks.

    • coolhandbane - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      From mlb.com

      Contact Information
      The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
      Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner
      Address: 245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
      City: New York, State: NY Zip Code: 10167
      Phone: 212-931-7800
      Fax: 212-949-5654

  9. coolhandbane - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    Hello. Everyone. It is has been a long while since I posted on natsinsider. I usually read all the articles and the comments (excluding game threads).

    I figured I have to post about this. Before and after the all rosters were announced, all I heard was it was a game “for the fans”. Well since the nats have no one playing in the all star game, I guess mlb doesnt think too highly of the nats and our fans. We should have 1 person be able to play in the ASG. It is an insult to the nationals players and the organization.

    I too want to complain to the commissioners office about. I will let him know how I feel and will wont watch the ASG because of this.

  10. senators69 - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    Agree with others on this board. Just another slight to the Nats and DC.
    F the ASG.

    WHAT I REALLY WANT FROM MLB IS A FAIR SETTLEMENT OF THE TV DEAL!

    Really tired of this BS.

    Q: While not wishing ill will on the guy, what happens when Angelos dies?

    I’m guessing that contractually, nothing changes for the Nats.

    I’m hoping that either (a) Lerners sue MLB or (b) the annual $ MLB pays the Nats for agreeing to NOT sue brings the “tv” deal to fair market status. But since we don’t know the amount of that payment or its terms, we can never know…

  11. manassasnatsfan - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    Go Nats lets be in first place with no all stars

  12. tcostant - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:16 PM

    Guess I’ll just watch the futures game.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      Futures game is always fun.

  13. Richard Jay Norris - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:37 PM

    I believe that the perception of the team underachieving is the reason for the disrespect of having no players on the AS Team. But in reality which Nat is really having a great year?

  14. Spnats - Jul 12, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    Would like to see Matt Williams have his players back and say”We have a lot of good players worthy of all star game. We should have multiple participants.” Players seem to care, so should the manager.

  15. Sonny G 10 - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    I will also boycott the ASG.

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