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All-Star’s Opt Out, Pujols Possible Alternate

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UPI/Bill Greenblatt

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Shane Victorino became the latest All-Star scratches, further threatening to turn baseball’s big show into the All-Scar game.

Shortly after Jeter pulled himself Friday to rest an injured calf, his New York Yankees teammate joined him. The club announced Rodriguez would be absent because of a sore knee.

That made it three Yankees who won’t play for the American League on Tuesday in Phoenix. Closer Mariano Rivera will sit out to heal his right triceps.

“Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go,” Jeter said before Friday night’s game against Tampa Bay.

Earlier in the day, Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers replaced injured Shane Victorino of the Philadelphia Phillies in a switch of NL outfielders.

New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes previously was excused because of a hamstring problem that put him on the disabled list.

Los Angeles Angels rookie closer Jordan Walden is replacing Rivera. More roster changes are expected, too, with some pitchers starting this weekend and other players nursing injuries.

Among those hoping to get in: St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols, who recovered much quicker than expected from a broken wrist.

Jeter was two hits away from 3,000 going into Friday night’s game. The 12-time All-Star was elected by fans to start. Jeter came off the disabled list this week after recuperating from his calf problem.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said it was totally Jeter’s decision to skip the All-Star game. Jeter talked it over with Girardi, general manager Brian Cashman and trainer Gene Monaghan.

“It’s probably best not to push it because it’s most important to be ready for the second half. That’s where my focus has to be,” Jeter said. “It’s unfortunate because you know how much I enjoy going to All-Star games.”

“I’m trying to be smart about it. I know I can be stubborn a lot of times with injuries,” he said.

Rodriguez was getting an MRI for knee trouble that had seemingly sapped his power. The 14-time All-Star had been elected to start at third base.

Shortly before the decision was announced, Girardi said it was up to Rodriguez.

“Alex has to make that choice. Would the rest help him? Probably,” Girardi said. “He’s banged up, he’s played a lot.”

Ethier, who had a 30-game hitting streak earlier this season, finished second to Victorino in online fan voting for the last player added to the team. Victorino is on the disabled list because of a strained thumb ligament.

Ethier, who started for the NL in last year’s game, is hitting .313 with seven home runs and 42 RBIs.

His streak is the longest in baseball this season.

Copyright Associated Press

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