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06/27/10 12:30 AM ET

New rule may keep CC out of All-Star Game

Pitchers who start in first-half finale are ineligible for roster

LOS ANGELES -- Under the most optimum of circumstances, the Yankees could send as many as six players to the American League All-Star team -- four pitchers and two position players.

  • 134 wins
  • 118 wins

But if things stand as currently planned, CC Sabathia, who threw his way to a 9-3 record on Friday night, won't be able to pitch in the July 13 All-Star Game at Anaheim. Sabathia is slated to start on July 11 at Seattle just prior to the break, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Saturday before the Dodgers clobbered the Yankees, 9-4, at Dodger Stadium.

By new rule, any pitcher starting on Sunday before the break can be named to the team, but can't pitch in the game. That pitcher can participate in all All-Star activities, but is not eligible for the roster.

"I don't care either way," Sabathia told MLB.com on Saturday. "I hate to make it sound that way, but I really don't. I'm here to help the Yankees win games. If I'm slated to pitch that day, then that's the way it will be."

Phil Hughes (10-1), Andy Pettitte (9-2) and Mariano Rivera (17 saves) are real possibilities to make the squad, which will be managed by Girardi, who skippered the Yankees to their 27th World Series title last year in six games over the Phillies.

All three of those hurlers would be eligible under the rules. Sabathia, though, said he'd be content just to take part in the festivities.

"Oh yeah, I'd be happy to show up and go, hang out with the guys and be part of all the hoopla," said Sabathia, a three-time American League All-Star and Cy Young Award winner when he pitched for the Indians. "My son would enjoy that. If I'm selected, I'll definitely be a part of it."

Shortstop Derek Jeter and second baseman Robinson Cano have huge leads at their respective positions in the fan voting conducted by MLB.com and at the 30 Major league ballparks. The online voting ends on July 1 and the full teams will be announced on July 4. Jeter will make the team for the 11th time and Cano the second -- he didn't play in 2006 because of an injury.

Third baseman Alex Rodriguez and first baseman Mark Teixeira are a distant second at their respective positions.

Like All-Star managers before him, Girardi said he'd lean toward picking players on his own team.

"You would like to," he said. "I see them every day. I know exactly what they can do. The other thing is, in a situation where you're really trying to win a game you know exactly what your guys can do."

But under the restraint of the rules, Girardi might not have much of a choice.

In the AL, the first 26 players are accounted for. The starting position players and designated hitter are selected by the fans. The players then pick the backups and eight pitchers. That leaves five pitchers and two position players for Girardi to select in conjunction with Major League officials. Girardi also picks the five players for the 34th man spot that fans will select via MLB.com's Final Vote.

The new rules mandate now that 13 pitchers must be carried on each roster. Plus each of the 14 AL teams must be represented by at least one player.

"Of those five and two, you might have to take someone off a team that hasn't been picked," Girardi said.

As far as Sabathia goes, he may have pitched his way on to the squad with his last two starts: a combined 16 innings of eight hit, one run ball with four walks and 10 strikeouts in victories over the Dodgers and Mets.

Sabathia always seems to get better when the weather grows hotter as his 30-6 record from mid-June on the last two seasons-plus attests.

"I don't know why, it's just the way it's been," Sabathia said. "I know I feel better as the season gets on and it gets warmer. My arm feels a lot better. Looser and free. Maybe that has something to do with it."

But one thing Girardi said he won't do is alter the rotation to keep Sabathia out of that final game before the break.

"I can't," he said. "We need to win that game."

Sabathia concurred.

"I've got to get that start for the team," Sabathia said. "That's the only thing that really matters."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.