Nationals right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard has been named the team’s representative to the all-star game July 12 in Arizona.
“Pretty shocking, pretty awesome,” he said moments after learning of his selection.
Clippard, 26, is 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA in 37 appearances this season. He has 57 strikeouts and 15 walks in 46 innings. Opponents are batting .162 against him.
He broke into the majors as a starter for the New York Yankees in 2007 but was demoted to a reliever after starting only two games for Washington in 2008.
“It’s tough to put into words because of the process that it’s taken to get to this point in my career, the hard work and all the people who have helped me out,” he said. “It’s still early on in my career, and I’ve got a long way to go. I have a lot more goals that I want to accomplish, but this is a cool little one on your hat. I’m excited.”
General manager Mike Rizzo informed the team of Clippard’s accomplishment during a pre-game meeting at 11:45. Clippard spoke to reporters before he had a chance to contact even his family.
“I think that’s kind of a big part of the all-star thing for me; the experience is just to meet the other guys around the league, maybe get to pitch in the game,” he said. “All the extracurricular stuff that goes with it I think is going to be fantastic.”
Clippard’s only other all-star game was in Class-A ball with Tampa in 2005.
“I didn’t get to play in the game because they sent me down to low-A to pitch for a playoff-clinching game that I lost,” he said. “It was kind of a very weird dynamic that I was bitter about at the time. This is my second all-star team I ever made. Obviously this is the big leagues, so it’s a lot cooler.”
First baseman Michael Morse is a candidate to fill the final spot on the National League’s roster through the “Final Vote,” which is decided by fan voting on MLB.com.
Clippard said that he’d have Morse represent the Nationals if it were up to him.
“He’s been our best player all year long,” he said. “I think since May he’s probably been the best hitter in the big leagues. What he has proven to himself and to the league about what kind of player he is—this year and the end of last year, too—has been phenomenal.”
Please raise your hand if in 2009 you had Clippard, Joel Hanrahan and Aaron Crow being named to the all-star teams in 2011. Anyone?