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R.A. Dickey followed his offseason climb of Mount Kilimanjaro to rise to the top of NL pitchers, going 12-1 to move into position for an All-Star start. The 37-year-old could become only the second knuckleballer to earn the honor, the first since Dutch Leonard for the AL in 1943, according to STATS.

He even studies baseball’s past. He had a biography of Stan Musial in his locker earlier this season.

“Nerdy? I would say more eccentric would be the right word,” teammate David Wright said. “He’s extremely intelligent. He’s cultured probably well beyond any of us. I think it fits in great with the knuckleball. It goes hand and hand.”

In the AL, Weaver is 10-1 with a major league-best 1.96 ERA. Tampa Bay’s David Price and the Rangers’ Matt Harrison are tied for wins at 11-4.

And while the Rangers’ Ron Washington will be in the AL dugout for the second straight season, following a 5-1 loss last year in Phoenix, Tony La Russa will be running the NL. The retired manager of the World Series champion Cardinals will be the fourth inactive skipper in All-Star history, the first since the AL’s Bob Lemon after he was fired by George Steinbrenner in 1979.

“I think it’s one of the best experiences you can have,” La Russa said. “As soon as I was asked, I said yes before the question was finished.”


AP Sports Writers Greg Beacham, Howard Fendrich, Howie Rumberg and Dave Skretta contributed to this report.