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July 11, 2016
San Diego, California
MATT VASGERSIAN: Welcome everybody as we are synced up live with MLB Network and ready to get started with the introductions of starting pitchers and line-ups for the All-Star Game tomorrow. The third time as we are all aware of that the All-Star Game has come to America's finest city and as we have all seen firsthand for very good reason and the first time since 1992 back in 1978 at Jack Murphy Stadium, the first time the All-Star Game came here.
The players themselves arrived yesterday and were introduced to the city and their week, and we're ready to get things started today with the instructions of the line-ups. So to kick things off and to introduce the American League, we welcome a man who won a Triple Crown, an MVP and a World Series title all with the Baltimore Orioles, exactly 50 years ago. He has been an MVP in both leagues, Hall of Famer, Frank Robinson.
FRANK ROBINSON: Hold your applause.
MATT VASGERSIAN: You can clap now. I said Frank Robinson.
FRANK ROBINSON: Thank you very much. Well, I'm here to do a chore, not for me, but for the League and whatever. Ned Yost is in his second consecutive All Star managerial assignment. He is the longest tenured manager in the Royals history and also the winningest manager in Royals history. He led the Royals to their first World Series and first divisional title during the 2015 -- let me start over. Rewind. Led the Royals to their first World Series and their first Divisional Championship in 30 years during the 2015 season. Became the first Kansas City skipper to lead the franchise to multiple World Series appearance in 2014 and 2015, became the first manager in the Major League history to win his first eight postseason games. His 22 postseason victories ranked third among active managers behind Bruce Bochy, 42, and Terry Francona, 28.
So before you guys get too excited let me bring Ned Yost up here and he can tell you what he's going to do with the All-Star Game and the lineup and the players and I'll get ought of your way. Ned?
NED YOST: Thank you, Frank.
I'm going to announce my starting lineup. It's a tremendous group of offensive players, as well as great defensive players.
This group has amassed together an amazing 142 homers in 636 RBIs as a group. We're going to lead off with Jose Altuve from Houston, playing second base. We're going to hit Mike Trout, second. Playing center field, Manny Machado will bat third, playing third base. The great David Ortiz, making his 10th All-Star appearance will DH for us. Xander Bogaerts will bat 5th, play shortstop. Eric Hosmer will play first base, batting 6th. Mookie Betts will play right field, batting 7th. Salvador Perez will hit 8th and be the catcher, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. will play left field.
Like I said, it's an extremely exciting lineup. It's got speed. It's got power and it's got a lot of offensive capabilities. So we're proud to start the All-Star Game with this group. For us, pitchingwise we have selected Chris Sale to be our starter. Quite frankly last year in the All-Star Game I wanted to start Chris last year, but he had just come off a Saturday start where he threw over 120 pitches against the Chicago Cubs and decided that, you know, that wasn't -- that wouldn't be the best thing for Chris's arm.
He's ready to go this year. We're excited. For me it was a real easy choice. Chris, being in my division, I've had a chance to watch him develop into a superstar pitcher. I remember the first time I saw him throwing a 99 mile an hour fastball and a nasty, nasty slider and watched him evolve into even a better pitcher now because he's developed a phenomenal change-up to go along with that nasty fastball and that slider. We're excited to have Chris start for us. We're looking forward to tomorrow night and hopefully getting home field advantage for the American League once again. So let me introduce Chris.
MATT VASGERSIAN: Absolutely.
NED YOST: Led me introduce Chris.
MATT VASGERSIAN: You can sit right there if you want. Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Sale.
CHRIS SALE: What an honor. I can't put into words what this means. You know, to be able to start this game, I know what it means and I know how much fun I've had in the past, so I'm just going to try to go out there with some energy and start the game off on the right foot for the guys.
MATT VASGERSIAN: Chris, thank you. Moving along to introduce the National League side of the event, the host city, a man whose father Warren bares the name of the National League Championship trophy, as we know Phillies Chairman, Mr. Bill Giles.
BILL GILES: Thank you, Matt. Terry Collins attended Eastern Michigan University. He played baseball ten years in the Minor Leagues. He managed 12 years in the Minor Leagues, including two in Japan.
Now he's on his 12th season in the Major Leagues as a manager, three years with the Houston Astros, three with the Angels. He's on his sixth season with the New York Mets. It's my pleasure to introduce the manager of the champion New York Mets, Mr. Terry Collins.
TERRY COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Giles. It's an honor, pleasure to be here and we're proud of the team we're going to put on the field tomorrow. I'm going to lead off -- I told my coaches yesterday when we were trying to make out the lineup I kind of thought Chris was going to start the game and one of my coaches said, who did you want to play? And I said, pull 'em out of the hat. We got the greatest players in the game. So let's not get carried away where who should hit where.
But we're going to lead off with Ben Zobrist at second base with the Chicago Cubs. Bryce Harper will hit second, in right field. Kris Bryant of the Cubs will hit third. Wil Myers will DH for the San Diego Padres. Buster Posey will catch and hit fifth. Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs will play first base. Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins will hit seventh. Carlos Gonzales of the Colorado Rockies will play left field. Addison Russell of the Chicago Cubs will play shortstop.
It's an outstanding team. There was a tremendous challenge and I talked to Ned last year and after the World Series and he said, your biggest challenge yesterday is to come and that is picking who should be on the All-Star team and he is right.
But it's an honor to name my starting pitcher. We had a tremendous group of starting pitchers in the National League this year, certainly the list, you know, was going to be Kershaw and Bumgarner and Syndergaard and Arrieta and certainly everybody deserves an opportunity and I thought this guy pitched the best in the first half of the season and deserves an opportunity for what he did and what he did for us in the World Series last year. So we're going to start Johnny Cueto from the San Francisco Giants. Johnny?
MATT VASGERSIAN: Johnny, do you have a few words, a few quotes, something to be named starter for the All-Star Game tomorrow?
JOHNNY CUETO: First of all, I want to thank God for this great opportunity and I want to say how happy I am of getting this opportunity to start the All-Star Game tomorrow.
MATT VASGERSIAN: Thanks, Johnny. We can open up the floor for questions. 34 first-time All Stars tomorrow at last count, because that number has been changing quite a bit as we know. And a record tying 30 All Stars born outside of the U.S. will be here tomorrow night in Petco Park. There is certainly a lot of San Diego flavor as we are in San Diego. But with Cole Hamels, Stephen Strasburg and a couple of college stars that played their college ball here including Kris Bryant. So we would love to take some time and answer some questions for you. Put your hand up and we will get a microphone to you quickly.
Q. For Terry Collins, Terry, could you discuss Wil Myers as a DH. A lot of Padre fans were hoping you would make this move?
TERRY COLLINS: Again, I made the move because it was in San Diego. We wanted to get a right-handed bat in the lineup against Chris if we could. We looked at a lot of the numbers and there were a lot of great choices and one of the things that went into it was the fact that we think, you know, Wil is a deserving guy. He's had a tremendous first half and we're excited that he gets to start this game in front of his hometown.
Q. Terry, building off the Wil Myers question, what did you -- what have you seen in his bad? You're paying attention to our own season, but how have you been able to gauge what he's done. I know he was the NL Player of the Month in June. Why hit him in that spot, particularly?
TERRY COLLINS: As you know, our game is statistically based. So I got my coaching staff involved and they came up with three names and his was one of them so I said you know what? One of the things, he's used to playing there, more than anybody else. We thought with his ability to drive in some runs if we get some guys on we think he's capable of putting runs on the board for us, and against Chris it's no fun task. So we just thought Wil might be the guy.
Q. For Chris Sale, congratulations, first of all. Can you talk about what we talked about a little earlier in the week how you might approach some of these hitters? You've become a contact hitter more than a strikeout pitcher this year, but what's going to be your approach in the first inning or so of this game?
CHRIS SALE: Planning on letting it eat for a minute, really. Just getting after it. There are no repercussions that come from the game other than having fun and competing. That's all I'm going to try to do. I don't know what pitches I'm going to throw. I'm going to rely on my catcher like I always do to get me through that inning or two, whatever it might be. But I fully intend to going out there and giving it all I got for that inning or two, whatever it might be.
Q. For anybody, Petco Park is the house that Tony Gwynn built. Considering the impact he had on the game and this city and the residents, do you have any thoughts about Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn?
NED YOST: Back in my early days as a coach, in 1991, we in the Atlanta Braves had one of the best pitching staffs in the game and we could never get Tony Gwynn out, ever! After years and years of trying to go down and away, up and in, change-up, sliders, Bobby said, let's just throw it down the middle and see what happens, and we would throw it down the middle and we would have just as much success getting him out because he would rip a line drive to the right fielder, center fielder, shortstop or second base. So we had more success, but just watching him play all those years was a tremendous honor.
I had the opportunity to have, you know, Tony, Jr. on my team in Milwaukee. Comes from such a great family. It was always fun to sit back and watch him hit. I can't think of too many hitters that were as great as he was in my time, that I've seen.
CHRIS SALE: I would like to add something about Tony Gwynn as well. He actually made a very big impact in my life. I remember -- I chewed tobacco from 2007 until the day he passed away. I remember seeing that, and just being so shocked. He was a larger-than-life person. He was an inspiration to the game for many, many people for a lot of different reasons. But I quit that day, and I haven't touched it since.
In a sense, I owe him a huge thank you for not only myself but for my family and, you know, hopefully I can maybe sway somebody in the right direction as well like he did for me.
Q. Congratulations, Chris. How satisfying is it for you to achieve this status of being an All-Star Game starter when there were some questions about your durability early in your career and your evolution as a pitcher? And secondly, you know Todd Frazier is in the Home Run Derby tonight, but how glad are you have some company on the AL team tonight with Jose Quintana?
CHRIS SALE: Tonight is great for with all of the All-Star festivities. Ever since I was a little kid I love the Home Run Derby, and now that I have a teammate in it to cheer for it makes it more exciting. Getting to Jose Quintana, I know some of your writers are here and they see him day-in and day-out. I couldn't think of a more deserving person to be name an All-Star and you could see it and feel it and yesterday in our clubhouse it was a special moment, Robin pulled the guys together and we had a little something for Jose.
Just the appreciation that we saw in him. I was telling him if you were to watch him four days between the starts you would say this guy is one of the best ever. His preparation, his intensity and just his work ethic and the teammate he is. He's gone through some ups-and-downs and has had a lot of bad luck. The way he's handled it, the professional he's been, I couldn't be more happier or more satisfied with how this played out.
Q. How about your development as a pitcher up to this point?
CHRIS SALE: I've had fun, I really have. I've had a lot of good people, a lot of good mentors and coaches along the way to get me to where I am. This wasn't me just figuring it out on my own. I've had people pushing me in the right direction, teammates and family and coaches. So I'm just very appreciative of all that put together to get me to this point where I am today.
Q. Johnny, what does it mean to you to be the first Dominican starter since Ubaldo Jimenez in 2010 and after changing teams and winning the World Series? Can you compare starting an All-Star Game?
JOHNNY CUETO: Like you said, it's an honor to represent the Dominican Republic to be the starter in the All-Star Game, and, yeah, it was great to be a part of the World Series team. I tried to do everything I could to win and I'm happy and I guess I'm seeing the results today.
Q. Chris, for all the fans in Japan who didn't have the pleasure of watching you start, to watch your every start, we understand that you have more wins, less strikeouts and were surprised by that. Tell us a little bit more about what changed in your pitching?
CHRIS SALE: I had a lot of conversations with my pitching coach, Don Cooper about that. I wanted to pitch more innings, get deeper into the games. As a starting pitcher, that's really the name of the game is getting as deep into the game while giving your team a chance to win at the same time.
I think that's more important. When I'm on a baseball field the number one goal is to win. Like I said before, a close second is keeping my guys out of the bullpen. I take pride in giving days off when I'm pitching that they might not expect to have because I have been in the bullpen before, and I know how big that can be getting one extra day here and one extra day there.
Is just takes pressure off everybody else. Keep the guys out of the bullpen and just try to get as deep into the game as you can and I think for the first half our plan has been working pretty well.
Q. Terry and for Ned, what will pitchers 2, 3 and 4 look like once the starters are done tomorrow night?
TERRY COLLINS: Pitchers 2, 3 and 4? (Laughter.)
NED YOST: 2, 3 and 4 is going to be right-handed, left-handed, and right-handed for me (Laughter.)
TERRY COLLINS: That might make mine all right-handed until Lester, so -- you know, we're going to -- I certainly -- we're all really lucky with what we've got. But, you know, I want to try to get as many of the guys that were voted in by the players, make sure they get in the game early so we can sort out the backside of the game a little bit. Of course half those guys came up hurt now, but we'll get -- I don't have any scheduled order just yet.
NED YOST: I was just joking, but we're probably going to go with Chris. Corey Kluber will probably come in behind him. We will have Cole Hamels pitching third. Aaron Sanchez pitching 4th, Quintana pitching in the fifth inning, and then turn it over to the bullpen. That's our plan.
MATT VASGERSIAN: Subject to change, of course!
NED YOST: Yes, it is.
Q. For Johnny and Terry. First, Johnny. You said in the beginning you were so happy to be in the All-Star Game for the first time. Now translated into start and how much happier you are? For Terry, you faced this guy last year in the World Series. How much better he is as a pitcher today than last year?
TERRY COLLINS: Did you want to answer yours first?
JOHNNY CUETO: Like he said, I wasn't hoping I was going to start the game. I was just happy to be participating in the game. But I'm very happy and, you know, just happy to be here and to be able to start the game and I thank Terry Collins that has faith in me.
TERRY COLLINS: Well, you know, we haven't seen Johnny this year. But I think his numbers speak for themselves. Certainly what we saw last year in the World Series I've seen Johnny pitch against my teams a number of times and that was the best outing I've ever seen him have and I know last week when we were sitting and talking about who we might start in the All-Star Game we had five very, very qualified guys, and as it got closer and closer and closer he just continued to dominate the league, so I thought he was the right choice.
Q. To the managers, are you for or against home field advantage for the World Series being attached to this game? How do you balance trying to win the game with trying to get all the players into the game?
TERRY COLLINS: I'll start out because I didn't have home field advantage last year and I know how important it is. I think especially in our market you play in New York, I think you have a distinct advantage having home field. We saw it last year when we had to go to Kansas City.
So I think it's have I important and I think when you play the game, obviously this is a showcase of the greatest players in the game. But you know what, deep inside they all want to win. This guy never wants to lose a game and I think it's always going to be there.
When you put the players on the field, for me, you know what? There is one thing in mind, and that's to go out and play your best. These guys are very, very proud. They're very talented. So what you try to do, when you get guys on the other side, they're very good. But we plan on going out and playing the game to win because I think it's important to have home field.
NED YOST: I completely agree with Terry. It's vitally important. We've got a room full of tremendously talented players and if we win this game it's going to affect somebody or somebodies in that room because home field advantage is huge. It's huge for us in Kansas City.
It's going to be huge for, you know, whoever gets to the World Series this year. So for me, the most important aspect of your question is we want to win the game. That's the most important thing. I will do everything I can to get guys in the game, but we want to win that game.
Q. We broadcast overseas to the troops, so I want to know what it means to you guys to be putting this together for the men and women in the military overseas?
TERRY COLLINS: This is my first time, and I'll tell you a quick story. I had dinner with Jim Leyland last winter and he said, you are going to partake in one of the worst experiences of your life trying to pick who should be on the All-Star Game when there are so many qualified candidates. And he's absolutely correct. There are a lot of long days that went into it and you feel terrible when there are guys that aren't here who should be here, but without question it's one of the greatest honors I've ever had in my 45 years in baseball. So, again, we will do the best we can to put on a good show and to bring a victory to the National League.
NED YOST: You know, for me, our veterans and our military people are the most special people in this country. They're the ones that allow us the ability to play All-Star Games. They protect our freedom. What they do every single night, and when I stand on that line for the National Anthem, my mind is flooded with their sacrifice and with their service. My mind is just so full of thanks for what they do for us. It's a crazy world, but those people are out there every single day putting it on the line so that we can have All-Star Games and we can have events like this. They're very, very special people.
MATT VASGERSIAN: That is a great question. Thank you for that considering San Diego's military ties here, such a strong military city. That's going to wrap us up. The American League All Stars will be available to the media next door shortly, and everybody will be back in this room at noon for the T-Mobile Home Run Derby press conference.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports