Ron Washington and Tony La Russa name their All-Star Game coaching staffs

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Because the All-Star Game counts, tough strategic planning is required and that in turn requires an all-star caliber coaching staff to make the tough calls.

Hahaha, just kidding. The only thing more rare than baseball strategy in the MLB All-Star Game is defense in the NBA All-Star Game and contact in the Pro Bowl.

But the teams need coaches all the same, if for no other reason to give the managers someone their own age to talk to. And today AL manager Ron Washington and NL manager Tony La Russa announced their staffs.

La Russa has named Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and Mets manager Terry Collins as his official N.L. coaches.  He has filled out the rest of his staff with, basically, the entire staff of the 2011 Cardinals: Dave Duncan will be the pitching coach, Derek Lilliquist will be the bullpen coach, Mark McGwire is the hitting coach, Dave McKay and Jose Oquendo will be base coaches and Joe Pettini will be the bench coach. Trainers will be Paul Lessard of the Cincinnati Reds and Jim Lovell of the Braves.

In the AL, Ron Washington will have Ned Yost and Bob Melvin has his official coaches, with Rangers coaches – Dave Anderson, Scott Coolbaugh, Andy Hawkins, Mike Maddux, Jackie Moore and Gary Pettis on staff. Trainers will be Nick Kenney of the Royals, and Lonnie Soloff of the Cleveland Indians.

I’m most looking forward to the first La Russa-Lilliquist call to the bullpen.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”