- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

For the first time since 1992, the MLB All-Star Game will be played in San Diego, which made it all the more sweeter for Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who was voted to the National League team for the second time in his career.

Strasburg, who was born in San Diego and played at San Diego State, joins Nationals teammates Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Wilson Ramos in the game, which will take place July 12 at Petco Park.

“I was pretty excited, especially having it in San Diego this year, should be a lot of fun coming home seeing family again,” Strasburg said before Wednesday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

“It’s a tremendous honor. Just to be part of the festivities, I’m extremely blessed.”

Whether Strasburg starts in the game remains to be seen. He has started the season 11-0 — the first National League pitcher to do so since 1985 — with a 2.71 ERA, but the National League roster has an abundance of talented pitchers. Chicago Cubs starter Jake Arrieta is 12-3 with a 2.33 ERA. San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto is 12-1 with a 2.51 ERA. Giants starter Madison Bumgarner has a 2.09 ERA —second only to Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who is on the disabled list and has a 1.79 ERA. Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is 9-3 with a 2.41 ERA.

New York mets manager Terry Collins will manage the National League team.

“That’s not up to me,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said on Wednesday. “That’s up to Terry Collins. I’m not going to try to manage his team. They’ve got some bad dudes in this league. Stras ain’t the only one. It depends on when his rotation [aligns]. A lot of it depends on how we’re going to set our rotation. The All-Star Game is important with how you set your rotation for the second half. That’s equally as important for us.”

Strasburg echoed Baker’s thoughts when asked what it would be like to start in the game. The righthander returned from the disabled list last Sunday and pitched 6.2 innings, holding the Cincinnati Reds before exiting the game in a 12-1 win.

He’s scheduled to pitch on Friday against the Mets — four days before the All-Star game.

“Yeah, you know we’ll just see what happens,” Strasburg said. “We still have some games coming up to the break. That’s what Dusty has been reiterating, that these ones are just as important as the other ones. Not really looking too far ahead.”

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