PHILADELPHIA - Tyler Clippard had planned to spend his All-Star break relaxing at his home in Florida, playing lots of golf and maybe spending a day at the beach.
Now Clippard is heading to Minneapolis.
The golf will have to wait. The temperature might max out in the 70s, as compared to the 90s. But Clippard will get to be a part of his second All-Star Game, after being selected as a late addition to the National League roster. He replaces Braves starter Julio Teheran, who started today and won’t be able to participate in the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday.
Nationals manager Matt Williams gave Clippard the news this morning, prior to the Nats’ 10-3 win over the Phillies. Barring another late roster change involving a Nationals player, Clippard will be the only Nat in uniform during the All-Star Game. Jordan Zimmermann was selected to the NL squad, but won’t participate due to a biceps strain.
“I was surprised,” Clippard said. “Obviously coming into the last day of the break expecting to go home and spend some days there. They said they needed a guy because Teheran was pitching today, and I’m honored to do it. I feel like the Nationals need some representation there.
“Jordan wasn’t able to do it because of his bicep and I was afraid we might not have anybody in uniform out there. I’m just happy to go out there and represent our team and maybe get into a game and see what happens.”
Jayson Werth congratulated Clippard earlier today when he heard the news, but joked that he also apologized to the Nats’ reliever. Instead of relaxing at home, Clippard will now have to deal with all that comes with the Midsummer Classic - the media obligations, the promotional events and the like.
“Yeah, it’s a give and take,” Clippard said. “I’m obviously honored to do it. Like I said, I think it’s a necessity to have the Curly W out there in the All-Star Game and represent our team. So I’m happy to do it in that sense. Obviously, I would’ve liked to get a few more rounds of golf in during the break, but I’ll take one for the team here and go out there and represent us. I think I’ll still maybe buy a day when I can get out on the course. So I’ll be all right.”
Clippard takes a solid 2.03 ERA into the break over 43 appearances and 40 innings worked. He’s struck out 53 and walked 18, and has a 1.23 WHIP.
“I’m happy for him. He deserves it,” Werth said. “It’s a great accomplishment. I’m sure he had to change some flight plans, but all-in-all, I’d say he’s excited, and we’re happy for him.”
It could be argued that other Nationals relievers were deserving of All-Star bids, as well. Rafael Soriano (0.97 ERA, 22 saves in 24 chances, 0.81 WHIP) wasn’t picked to the team initially, and turned down subsequent requests, opting to spend the break at home with his family in the Domincan Republic. Drew Storen (1.20 ERA over 30 innings with a 0.90 WHIP) also put up a tremendous first half.
Clippard’s excited to attend the All-Star Game, but he wishes some of his bullpen mates were joining him.
“When I got called in this morning, I was kinda fighting to get Drew in the game,” Clippard said. “Sori turned it down, and he should’ve been picked in the first place. Kind of the cards just fell my way and I’m just kind of fortunate and really happy to represent us in Minnesota and hopefully everything goes well.”