After learning that he'd been selected to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career, Ian Desmond took a few days to decide how to proceed.
He was honored to be chosen for the National League team by NL manager Tony La Russa, but given that he's been battling a sore left oblique recently, Desmond also wanted to use the All-Star break to get some rest.
He talked things over with Nationals manager Davey Johnson, spoke to general manager Mike Rizzo, and then called La Russa to inform him that due to the oblique injury, he'd prefer to skip the All-Star Game and heal up at home.
"I called Tony La Russa personally not only to thank him, but to kind of run it by him and see what his opinion would be," Desmond said. "And this is just the decision that we came up with. I don't think that (it's worth) risking something for the All-Star Game that could possibly down the road (affect me) playing in the playoffs or in meaningful baseball towards the end of the season. The cons just outweighed the pros.
"It's definitely a tough decision. It's one that we spent quite a few days kind of mulling over. But in the end, I think it's best for the team and best for myself to take the rest. I would hate to be two, three weeks down the road and something happened and I didn't take the four days to rest my body and put the team first."
Desmond has been dealing with the oblique issue for over a month. He's been getting treatment on it every day, but hasn't missed a single inning over the Nationals' last 67 games. Still, he's been able to put together a ridiculous first half, hitting .282 with a team-high 16 home runs and 49 RBIs.
He went 2-for-3 with a solo home run in today's win over the Rockies.
"There's days where I come out and it feels terrible, but I get a couple knocks - like today," Desmond said. "It felt pretty sore and I had a good offensive day. It's just tough. It's not something that you want to do, withdraw your name from the All-Star Game. As tough as it sounds, it's harder to do, especially when you were selected by Tony La Russa personally. It's just a hard decision to make period.
"By no means is this an injury where I'm at home and I'm crippled by any means. But you sneeze, you cough, I'm holding my kid - things like that, I feel it, and I think in the second half, it'd be nice to be going into the second half knowing that my body is 100 percent healthy, that I can give it all I've got for my team and we can make a run at this thing."
One other aspect that came into play a bit, Johnson said, is that Desmond was the third shortstop named to the NL team, behind starter Rafael Furcal and Starlin Castro. That means that Desmond would likely not see much, if any playing time.
"He expressed to Tony that if he went, he'd want to play," Johnson said.
Desmond will head home to Sarasota to spend time with his family while teammates Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Bryce Harper suit up for the NL squad in Kansas City.
"If I didn't think that the four days rest would help, I wouldn't do it," Desmond said. "I would just go and play and take a chance. But it's to the point now where I feel like if I go and rest, come back, I think it'll be OK."