OAKLAND, Calif. - Brandon Webb and Johnny Estrada have performed like All-Stars so far this season. However, because they play in Phoenix rather than, say, Boston or New York, neither is assured of a spot on the 2006 National League All-Star team.
“I realized at the beginning of the year that being in Arizona we’re kind of off the radar as far as that goes,” Estrada said.
Estrada and Webb will find out where they’re spending the All-Star break this morning, but fans will have to wait until the rosters are revealed at 4 p.m. today on ESPN to find out who will represent their team July 11 in Pittsburgh.
Webb, who takes the mound against Athletics ace Barry Zito today, is 8-3 with a 2.85 ERA. He is tied for third in the majors in ERA, tied for sixth in wins and stands alone in first with 123 1/3 innings pitched.
If he is selected to the team as expected, it would be his first All-Star game.
Estrada, a member of the 2001 NL All-Star team, is batting .317 with six home runs and 44 RBIs. He’s driven in more runs than any other NL catcher and is tied for the team lead with Chad Tracy.
However, Estrada may be snubbed in favor of New York’s Paul Lo Duca, who leads the fan vote by a large margin, and San Diego’s Mike Piazza, who could be a sentimental pick as he nears the end of his career.
“If they break it down by the numbers, I think I would deserve to go if you rank all the catchers in the National League,” Estrada said. “It doesn’t always work that way.”
Juan Cruz said his right shoulder felt fine Saturday morning after throwing a bullpen session Friday. However, he wasn’t sure if he would start Monday’s game.
Manager Bob Melvin also declined to commit Monday’s start to Cruz, on the disabled list with shoulder soreness since June 4, or Edgar Gonzalez.
Meanwhile, Melvin said Tony Clark was probably healthy enough to serve as the club’s designated hitter but that he preferred to limit his work until after the All-Star break. Clark has been slowed by a sore right shoulder.
FAN OF A’S FANS
Eric Byrnes has been mostly well-received in his return to Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum this weekend.
A smattering of boos has greeted him at the plate, but most fans’ reaction to the longtime Athletic has been positive. Byrnes and Oakland’s supporters share mutual appreciation.
“I like the Oakland fans. They’re definitely a passionate group,” Byrnes said. “They don’t get 30,000 out here. Very rarely do they. But the 10 to 20 (thousand) that show up are usually pretty excited and pretty energetic.”
The D-Backs announced the signings of 34th overall draft pick Brooks Brown, a right-hander from the University of Georgia, and 33rdround pick Osbek Castillo, a righthander from Cuba. They also signed free agent Matthew Brewer, a right-hander from Southern Illinois-Carbondale. Brown has been assigned to Yakima, Brewer and Castillo to Missoula.