All-Star balloting has officially begun

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The All-Star balloting officially kicked off today with a big New York press conference complete with the usual hoopla.  What you want — the ballot — can be found right here.  Once again the ballot also features the Home Run Derby Fan Poll.  Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. I couldn’t immediately find the Home Run Derby ballot. Maybe they’ve made a late decision to scrap it, knowing that Justin Upton would just totally own it anyway. Hard to say.

Vote early and often, my friends. And don’t forget to vote for Derek Jeter even though he won’t be able to play. Because it’ll be fun to see someone write the “you know he’d play if he could!” column.

The All-Star Teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 7th on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show. It’ll be televised nationally on TBS.

Brandon Morrow shut down for the rest of the season

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Cubs closer Brandon Morrow has been out since the All-Star break with a bone bruise and biceps inflammation. In recent days there had been hope that he would be activated in the season’s final two weeks in order to be ready for the playoffs, but that’s not happening: Theo Epstein just said that Morrow is done for the season.

It’s not the first time good expectations for Morrow’s recovery were not met. When he was placed on the DL back in July manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. Two months later and here we are.

Morrow, 34, had an excellent season until the arm trouble started, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. Once he went out the closer’s duties fell to Pedro Strop. Now Strop too is out for at least the rest of the regular season and likely more due to a hamstring strain he suffered last week while running the bases.

Bullpens become a lot more important in the postseason. The Cubs’ bullpen is becoming thinner.