NEW YORK — Joe Nathan never expected to be pitching for a save. Not with baseball's career saves leader alongside him in the bullpen.
The Texas Rangers closer was called upon to finish off the American League's 3-0 win Tuesday night in the All-Star game at Citi Field after Mariano Rivera came on for the eighth inning.
"I didn't know I was coming in to close until I was actually coming in from the bullpen," Nathan said.
No slouch of a stopper himself, Nathan has 328 saves for Minnesota, Texas and San Francisco in a 13-year career. He has 30 this season — the same as Mo.
But everyone in the bullpen was ready to defer to Rivera on this night.
The six-time All-Star struck out Matt Carpenter looking and Andrew McCutchen swinging before Paul Goldschmidt doubled. Nathan then retired fellow New York native Pedro Alvarez on a popup to second base.
After the final out, Nathan got the game ball but he knew it didn't belong to him. He gave it to Mo.
"No brainer. I wanted it, but I wanted to give it to him more," Nathan said. "Outstanding to be able to hand the ball over to him that I saved with him the in bullpen was pretty cool. No secret how much I look up to him and be able to do that for him was awesome.
CANO, CANO: Miguel Cabrera flung his bat into the stands when he swung and missed at a pitch from Patrick Corbin in the fourth inning. The flying bat nearly hit a child wearing, yup, a Robinson Cano Yankees jersey.
The real Cano had less luck than the boy. He was hit on the right leg by a pitch from Matt Harvey in the first inning and had to come out of the game.
"It's a little tight, I came out of the game because I didn't want to aggravate it," he said. "Nothing bad. They told me it's a bruise, and ice the next few days."
TORII TIME: Torii Hunter was an All-Star rookie in 2002 when he robbed Barry Bonds of a home run and got a big bear hug from the slugger on the field. Now he's a veteran voice in a clubhouse with a record number of newcomers.
The always loquacious, ever-smiling 37-year-old Detroit Tigers outfielder is enjoying his role as a five-time All-Star selection.
With possible suspensions from the Biogenesis investigation looming over the game, Hunter defended Alex Rodriguez and other players who have been implicated in drug scandals over the years.
"I know how hard this game really is. I don't care what they did or who did or whatever, Barry Bonds all those guys," Hunter said Tuesday before the game at Citi Field. "Still impressive to hit. Still got to hit the ball."
On the lighter side, Hunter has his favorite All-Stars. Wacky All-Stars, that is.
|Miami||12/22/13 12:00 PM|
|New Orleans||12/22/13 12:00 PM|
|Dallas||12/22/13 12:00 PM|
|Tampa Bay||12/22/13 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||12/22/13 12:00 PM|
|Indianapolis||12/22/13 12:00 PM|
|Minnesota||12/22/13 12:00 PM|
|Denver||12/22/13 12:00 PM|
|Tennessee||12/22/13 12:00 PM|
|Arizona||12/22/13 3:05 PM|
|NY Giants||12/22/13 3:05 PM|
|Oakland||12/22/13 3:25 PM|
|Pittsburgh||12/22/13 3:25 PM|
|New England||12/22/13 3:25 PM|
|Chicago||12/22/13 7:30 PM|
|Atlanta||12/23/13 7:40 PM|
|New York||81||4th Qtr 2:21|
|Portland||106||4th Qtr 0:50|
|Memphis||62||3rd Qtr 3:11|
|San Antonio||59||3rd Qtr|
|Chicago||16||2nd Qtr 11:51|
|New Orleans||9:30 PM|
|Pittsburgh||3||3rd Prd 13:34|
|Notre Dame (OH)||72||FINAL|
|Coll of Charleston||51||FINAL|
|Open Bible College||43||FINAL|
|South Dakota St||75|
|Northern Ill||53||2nd Half 0:15|
|Grand Canyon||64||2nd Half 1:03|
|TX-Pan American||47||2nd Half 6:11|
|Stanford||28||2nd Half 19:12|
|Houston Baptist||29||2nd Half 17:47|
|LSU||44||2nd Half 19:43|
|Northwestern St||31||1st Half 3:46|
|Southern Utah||2||1st Half 15:50|
|San Diego St||14|
|UC Davis||8||1st Half 15:09|
|San Jose St||4|
|San Francisco St||5||1st Half 16:50|
|Radford||9||1st Half 15:56|
|Towson||10||1st Half 15:41|
|Sacred Heart||10:00 PM|
|Washington St||12/21/13 1:00 PM|
|(21) Fresno State||12/21/13 2:30 PM|
|Buffalo||12/21/13 4:30 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Tulane||12/21/13 8:00 PM|
|East Carolina||12/23/13 1:00 PM|
|Boise State||12/24/13 7:00 PM|
|Coll of Charleston||80||FINAL|
|East Tenn St||75|
|St Thomas (TX)||50||FINAL|
|(14) North Carolina||74||FINAL|
|(10) South Carolina||66|
|William & Mary||67|
|San Jose St||95|
|Miss Valley St||51||FINAL|
|UC Davis||63||2nd Half 4:24|
|Southern U||4||1st Half 17:43|
|UMKC||8||1st Half 15:53|
|New Mexico St||3||1st Half 16:00|
|Cal Poly||8||1st Half 15:42|