Kansas City, MO – San Francisco Giants right-hander Matt Cain and Tigers righty Justin Verlander have been selected as the starting pitchers for the 2012 All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium.
National League manager Tony La Russa, who retired after leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series championship in 2011, and American League skipper Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers made the announcements at a Monday news conference, also laying out the starting lineups for each team.
"In my retired role, I got to see up close and personal the outstanding first half," remarked La Russa of Cain.
Cain will be making his third appearance in the Midsummer Classic and his first career start.
In 17 starts for the Giants, Cain is 9-3 with a 2.62 earned run average and two shutouts, including the 22nd perfect game in Major League history on June 13 against the Houston Astros.
The 27-year-old right-hander struck out 14 batters in the Giants 10-0 win to give San Francisco its first perfect game in franchise history.
Cain is the second San Francisco hurler to start the All-Star game in the last four years after teammate Tim Lincecum toed the rubber for the National League back in 2009 at Busch Stadium.
"To be able to start the game is going to be a huge honor for me," said Cain.
Cain narrowly beat out New York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey for the starting nod.
Dickey donned a 12-1 record with a 2.40 ERA over 17 starts and is tied with Washington's Gio Gonzalez for the Major League lead in wins. The right-hander went 5-0 over six June starts and registered two shutouts, including back-to- back one-hitters, while allowing just 21 hits and five earned runs in 48 1/3 innings in the month.
Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young award winner and AL MVP, was slated to start the annual showcase last summer but was ineligible to participate because he started the Sunday before.
"He's well-rested so I expect a lot out of him." said Washington of Verlander.
In his fifth-career All-Star appearance, the 29-year-old righty will finally get the opportunity to fire the first pitch for the American League.
"I'm going to relish every moment of it and hopefully play a part in helping the American League win," remarked Verlander.
A 24-game winner last season, Verlander is 9-5 with a 2.58 ERA over 18 starts and has five complete games to his name, including one shutout.
Kenny Rogers was the last Tigers hurler to start the All-Star game when the then 41-year-old lefty stood atop the mound at PNC Park in Pittsburgh back in 2006.
The lineup for the American League will open with a pair of Yankees as Derek Jeter will play shortstop and hit leadoff, followed by teammate Robinson Cano in the two hole, playing second base. Josh Hamilton of the Rangers will play left field and bat third while Toronto's Jose Bautista hits clean up and will start in right.
Detroit's Prince Fielder will hit in the five hole and play first, followed by Adrian Beltre of the Rangers, who will man the hot corner. Boston's David Ortiz will be the designated hitter and hit seventh, Texas catcher Mike Napoli will be behind the plate batting eighth, and Curtis Granderson of the Yankees rounds out the lineup in the ninth spot, playing center field.
Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez will be the designated hitter and get things started at the top of La Russa's lineup, while Giants center fielder Melky Cabrera will hit second.
Milwaukee Brewers left fielder and reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun will hit third and first baseman Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds will bat clean up. Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran mans the five hole and Giants catcher Buster Posey will bat sixth.
"It's going to be really cool to have Buster behind the plate catching for me," said Cain of his batterymate.
Posey's teammate, Pablo Sandoval, follows and will play third, while second baseman Dan Uggla of the Atlanta Braves and shortstop Rafael Furcal of the Cardinals will bat eighth and ninth, respectively.
Once again, the winner of the All-Star Game will give its league home-field advantage in the World Series.
The National League has won the last two All-Star games after snapping a 13- game winless streak in 2010 with a 3-1 victory at Angel Stadium before taking last summer's contest 5-1 at Chase Field.