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July 6, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Hernandez, Iwakuma both make American League All-Star team

 

Felix Hernandez in front of Michael Pineda at 2011 All-Star game in Phoenix. Photo by Getty Images

Felix Hernandez in front of Michael Pineda at 2011 All-Star game in Phoenix. Photo by Getty Images

CLARIFICATION: I was wrong when I said Iwakuma couldn’t pitch in the All-Star Game if he pitched the Sunday before. According to the “Sunday Pitcher Rule” put into last collective bargaining agreement, it is the pitcher’s choice, but he can’t work more than one inning. Here is the rule:

ii) Sunday Pitcher Rule. Any starting pitcher elected or selected to the All-Star team who makes a start on the Sunday immediately preceding the All-Star Game (“Sunday Pitcher”) shall have the option to participate or not participate in the All-Star Game. If such starting pitcher elects to participate in the All-Star Game, he will not be permitted to pitch for more than one inning, and he may also inform his manager that he should be removed from the game if he reaches a certain pitch count (irrespective of whether he has completed one inning), provided such pitch count is reasonable. If a Sunday Pitcher who was originally named to the team elects not to participate in the All-Star Game, he will be replaced on the roster but treated in the same manner as other All-Stars who are excused from participation, and he will be encouraged to attend and be announced at the All-Star Game.

The Mariners this season have had the rare benefit of dual aces, and now they’ve both been rewarded with All-Star berths.

Felix Hernandez was named to the American League squad for the fourth time in six years (one of the omissions, interestingly, coming in his Cy Young 2010 season), while Hisashi Iwakuma is a first-time selection. Both were among the eight pitchers chosen for the squad in a vote of American League players.

The Mariners haven’t had multiple pitchers on the All-Star team since 2011, when Hernandez, rookie Michael Pineda and reliever Brandon League all made it. Iwakuma is the third Mariners’ pitcher from Japan to make the team, following relievers Kaz Sasaki (2001, 2002) and Shigetoshi Hasegawa (2003).

Photo by Associated Press

Photo by Associated Press

Iwakuma, however, is scheduled to start for the Mariners next Sunday, the last day before the All-Star break. If that happens, MLB rules dictate he may opt to be replaced on the American League roster, or be limited to one inning.  Iwakuma would still attend the game at New York’s Citi Field and go through all the festivities and be introduced with the team.

Iwakuma has the lowest ERA in the American League (2.60), followed by Hernandez at No. 2 (2.69). Iwakuma also has the lowest WHIP in the AL (0.88) to go with a 7-4 record. Hernandez is 8-4 and ranks fourth in the AL with 130 strikeouts. Iwakuma’s chances seemed to have dimmed with a stretch of four starts in which he went 0-3 with a 5.54 ERA to raise his ERA from 1.79, but his body of work over 18 starts prevailed.

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