Braves outfielder Jason Heyward backed out of the All-Star Game Saturday due to his ongoing recovery from a left thumb bruise, so National League squad manager Charlie Manuel asked closer Billy Wagner on Sunday if he would like to go to Anaheim instead. Wagner declined respectfully, citing an ankle injury that he would prefer to rest.
“It’s just good that I take some time off,” Wagner told Mark Bowman of MLB.com. “I can pitch
on it. But I’d hate to try to push it, when I know that I had some
time. I’d feel better if I knew that I was around for the whole
duration of this year, rather than trying to fight through this ankle
all year. When we get closer to the end, I’m going to have to be ready
to go everyday and there’s no days off.”
Fair enough. The Braves have lofty goals this season and the 38-year-old Wagner is wise to want as much rest as possible.
Set on adding a lefty, Manuel then phoned Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez, and Kuo jumped at the opportunity to participate in Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic. He’s plenty deserving with a 1.03 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and 12 holds through 25 appearances this season and his addition to the NL squad makes sense from a strategy standpoint. Both rosters are now set.