If baseball handled its All-Star Game like hockey does

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I am not a hockey fan — I knew very little about it actually — but I am fascinated with the way they’ve handled their All-Star Game in recent years.  They used to do that North America vs. the World thing.  Now they pick a couple of captains who choose their squads, playground style.  Very cool.

Today over at FanGraphs Jonah Keri — who knows from hockey, what with him being a Canuck and all — and Dave Cameron give baseball’s All-Star Game the NHL treatment.  You can probably guess that Albert Pujols was selected first.  After that there’s a lot of room for fun debate.

I like it, but I hate that they’ve imported the “everyone must play” rule that has come to dominate the real All-Star Game. If we’re going to change things, let’s change everything and mandate that this brave new hypothetical world of All-Star Games not require the pansy player usage patterns we’ve come to expect in the Midsummer Classic.  As such — and because this is a one-game affair — a starting pitcher would have to be my first pick.

Give me Roy Halladay.  I’ll pitch him seven or eight innings and the other side will be toast.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.