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Clayton Kershaw understands why Mike Matheny chose Adam Wainwright as NL starter

Clayton KershawClayton Kershaw has been the premier pitcher in MLB this season, but the reigning Cy Young Award winner was not selected as the NL starter for Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Target Field. Instead, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who is managing the All-Star team, chose his stud Adam Wainwright as the starter.

Rather than be angry or bitter over the decision, Kershaw said he understands Matheny’s choice.

“I kind of assumed [it would happen],” Kershaw said of Matheny’s choice via the OC Register’s Bill Plunkett. “Adam had best first half. It’s his manager. You’re not going to not pick your guy.”

He’s absolutely right. Matheny has to reward his guy in this case, and it’s not like picking Wainwright is a stretch; he is deserving of the honor.

Though Kershaw through a no-hitter with 15 strikeouts and had a streak of 41 consecutive scoreless innings just before the break, Wainwright’s numbers have been outstanding as well. Waino is 12-4 with a 1.83 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Kershaw is 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA and 0.83 WHIP and has pitched more than 42 fewer innings than Wainwright, though he has 11 more strikeouts than the Cardinals ace.

Kershaw has been the hottest pitcher, but Wainwright has done more. He is fully deserving of the honor. And credit to Kershaw for having a good attitude about things. There’s a reason why they say Kershaw is just as good of a guy off the field as on it.

It’s also nice that Wainwright completely appreciates the honor.

“Just an overwhelming sense of pride and achievement,” Wainwright said when describing how he felt upon being told the news by his manager during an interview with ESPN’s Buster Olney. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Something I’ve been kind of jealous of other people that got to do that. I can remember a lot of those pitchers who started the All-Star Game, so to be on that list is pretty special.”

Mike Scioscia did not want Mike Trout doing Home Run Derby

Mike Trout home runMike Trout was hearing it from many of his fellow All-Stars on Monday in Minnesota about not being a part of the Home Run Derby, and the guy had to pass the buck onto his manager.

Trout is one of the biggest stars in the game and, with 22 home runs on the season (fourth in MLB), he certainly has the power to challenge for the crown. So why isn’t one of the fan favorites in the Derby? Trout says you can blame Mike Scioscia for that.

Trout says Scioscia didn’t want him to participate in the Derby because the manager felt it could wear out the All-Star candidate, make him prone to injury, and possibly mess up his swing.

But that won’t stop Trouty from doing it next season.

“If I get another chance, and if I said I wanted to do it,” Trout said via the Los Angeles Times. “Scioscia would be against it, but he would support it.

“I don’t think it will mess up my swing,” Trout said.

Does the Home Run Derby mess up a player? Nobody really knows the answer to that. There is a lot of conjecture but logic would tell you it doesn’t.

As a fan of the game, it would be nice to see Trouty in the derby. As an Angels fan, it’s just as well that he’s not. Bottom line? Trout should do what he wants.

Derek Jeter gets sweet Nike tribute commercial (Video)

Nike has released a new Derek Jeter commercial leading up to the New York Yankees captain’s final MLB All-Star Game, and it’s a good one. The ad spot, which features a number of athletes and celebrities from Jay-Z and Billy Crystal to Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, is centered around the theme of “respect.”

Everyone from reluctant Red Sox fans to New York Mets players with their faces blurred out can’t help but tip their caps to Jeter:

Derek-Jeter-commercial-Mets

That’s pretty much how it has been all year as he makes his final tour around the league.

Has the whole Jeter retirement tour been even more over the top than Mariano Rivera’s was last year? Sure, but no one deserves it more than No. 2. He’s one of the best players to ever live and has conducted himself with class.

[Related: See all of Mariano Rivera's retirement gifts]

Video via For the Win

Javier Baez crushed an oppo home run in the Futures Game (Video)

We already told you about Joey Gallo, but Javier Baez is another prospect about whom you need to know.

Like Gallo, Baez is one of the premier power hitters in the minor leagues. The Puerto Rico native was drafted 9th overall by the Cubs in 2011 out of Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville and already has mashed 67 career home runs in 299 minor league games.

During Sunday’s Futures Game at Target Field, he crushed a 2-run home run deep to right-center. He waited back on a breaking ball and sent it deep over the 365-foot marker in right-center. That’s about a 20-foot high wall, too, so you know that blast went a long ways. And you can tell he didn’t even get all of it!

Javier Baez home run

Baez hit 37 home runs as a 20-year-old in high-A and double-A last season. He’s hitting .240 with 14 home runs and 19 doubles this season at Triple-A Iowa. The average is low, but the numbers are pretty good when you consider that he’s a 21-year-old playing in Triple-A.

Oh, and I know you love his bat wiggle, too. The guy has the bat speed and look of Gary Sheffield.

Between Baez, Kris Bryant, Arismendy Alcantara, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler and now Addison Russell, the Cubs have many of the top position player prospects in baseball. They are looking like they will have a stacked lineup in a few years.

Joey Gallo hit a Futures Game home run so far the ball disappeared (Video)

Joey Gallo home runJoey Gallo has developed a reputation as an incredible power hitter, and he proved Sunday that the billing is extremely well deserved.

Gallo, the No. 39 overall by the Texas Rangers out of Bishop Gorman High School in Nevada in 2012, pulled a home run in the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game at Target Field so deep to right field that the ball disappeared from the sight of TV cameras.

But that wasn’t the only damage he did.

According to MLB.com’s Jim Callis, Gallo hit 15 home runs in batting practice before the game, including six to the third deck and three that went out of the park entirely. I think this one may have as well.

Gallo hit one home run in batting practice that broke the windshield of a car parked outside the park:

As impressive as the displays of power were, none of it should come as a surprise.

In his first season of pro ball two years ago, Gallo clubbed 22 home runs in just 59 games. He bashed 40 last season — 38 of which came in 105 games at Single-A Hickory. He has 31 home runs this season, which he has split between high-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco.

To put things in perspective, Gallo has hit 93 home runs and 95 singles in 255 career minor league games. His career average is a steady .273, while he’s struck out 363 times. The strikeout numbers are going to be high and the average might be low, but Gallo has the looks of one of the top power hitters in the game.

Collin Cowgill out 4-5 weeks with broken nose, fractured thumb

Collin Cowgill face

Angels outfielder Collin Cowgill was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken nose and fractured thumb suffered when he was hit in the hand and face while trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt Saturday night.

Cowgill squared around to try laying down a bunt in the eighth inning against Rangers pitcher Matt West, but he was unable to pull back quickly enough and the 95-mph fastball hit him in the thumb and then nose.

Cowgill will have surgery on his nose and is expected to miss 4-5 weeks, according to Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

Cowgill has been a very solid option for the Angels all season. He’s batting .277 with a .760 OPS while sharing time as an extra outfielder. Grant Green was called up to take his place.

Below you can watch a GIF of the pitch and play.

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Carlos Gomez repeatedly tries breaking bat over knee, fails (Video)

Carlos Gomez broken batCarlos Gomez already felt embarrassed enough about striking out with a man in scoring position to end the 5th Saturday, but he managed to embarrass himself even further by failing to take out his frustration.

Gomez punched out against Adam Wainwright and was so upset at fishing for a ball in the dirt that he tried breaking his bat over his knee. He tried once on his left knee, but that didn’t work. So the right-hander moved on to his right knee and tried twice — but that didn’t work either. Realizing that his epic fail would have him on low-light reels, Gomez decided he had to complete the dirty deed.

He slammed the bat to his ground, then his helmet and then he ripped off his batting gloves.

Rather than try to break the bat, Gomez should save it. I mean that piece of lumber is downright indestructible. Think about it — it survived three attempted knee breaks and a slam to the ground. Imagine what it could do against a 95-mph fastball!