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Continued: Joe Nathan gets surprise save chance at All-Star game

  • Article by: HOWIE RUMBERG , AP Sports Writer
  • Last update: July 17, 2013 - 12:25 AM

"David Oritz, for sure, craziest forever. He sits here and holds court and tells all the jokes," Hunter said. "He is one of the funniest guys in All-Star game history."

There's also: "Ichiro (Suzuki). Manny (Ramirez). Ah, Manny. Forgot about Manny. Ooh, boy he was crazy. Can't tell you the stories. Pedro (Martinez) was funny. He put bubble gum in everybody's hats."

"You got to have fun in this clubhouse," he added. "This is how we relax."

The one player he is certain isn't crazy: Yankees injured shortstop Derek Jeter.

"Jeter's smooth. He's like a cold drink of water. Too cool for school," Hunter said.

So what did Bonds say to Hunter 11 years ago when he scooped him up near second base in Milwaukee?

"'Good catch kid, high five,'" Hunter said "I went high, he went low and picked me up. I tried to hold him down. Too strong."

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HAVE PEN HANDY: Mets captain David Wright looked down the row of dozens of baseballs lined up in his home clubhouse for the All-Stars to sign and sighed.

Being one of the host players for this year's All-Star game, demands on his time have been high. There is one part of the festivities that excites him, though.

"The special part for me is when the doors close and you kind of get to hang out with the guys and be around the best players in baseball," he said.

Wright then got back to signing the 27 dozen balls, 15 bats, 10 player placards and 11 All-Star jerseys laid out for everyone to autograph.

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STRAY-A: Grant Balfour of Oakland is only the second Australian player to be an All-Star. The first was in 1999, when Brewers catcher Dave Nilsson was selected to the game in Boston. Balfour got the nod in part because he is perfect in 25 save attempts this season for the first-place A's. He and starter Bartolo Colon were the only Oakland players selected.

"For the team, we would have liked to see more players here, no doubt," Balfour said. "It didn't work out that way. ... We've got a team, they can get fired up and go out and show it on the field."

Balfour pitched a scoreless inning Tuesday.

___

NUMBERS GUY: Clayton Kershaw's not a fan of using win-loss records to evaluate pitchers. Two seasons ago, he went 21-5, helping him to win the Cy Young Award.

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