Dodgers sending three to All-Star Game
Broxton, Billingsley, Hudson selected to go to St. Louis
SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers, with the best record in baseball, were appropriately represented Sunday when pitchers Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton and second baseman Orlando Hudson were named to the National League team for the July 14 All-Star Game, to be played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
And those three -- selected in balloting of players, managers and coaches -- could be joined by outfielder Matt Kemp, one of five finalists in the All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote.
"It's pretty good for a manager to talk to four guys," said Joe Torre, who already had been selected to coach in the game and who informed each player before Sunday's game.
"I told Matt, 'Even if you're not the one the fans vote for, just to be in that group is an honor.' I went to Broxton and asked him, 'If you make the All-Star team, will your wife be able to go?' He said yes and I said, 'Congratulations. You made it.' And O-Dog, it's got to help his spirits. He's down now."
The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 5 p.m. PT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
With an injury to Hiroki Kuroda after his Opening Day win, Billingsley assumed the role of Dodgers staff ace and handled it smoothly. He won his first five decisions and entered his Sunday start against the Padres at 9-4 with a 3.12 ERA.
The 24-year-old ranks among league leaders in wins, ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts and lowest opponents batting average, as he did last season.
While his national reputation might have the stigma of last year's postseason, Billingsley was the Dodgers' big winner last year with 16 regular-season victories, going 7-1 over his last 12 regular-season starts. He beat the Cubs in the first round of the playoffs before getting roughed up in two losses to the eventual World Series champion Phillies.
Broxton has compiled a 6-0 record, 2.09 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings. He is averaging 14.90 strikeouts per nine innings. He also leads the league in lowest opposing batting average for a reliever (.121) and has allowed a hit to only one of 32 first batters faced.
The 25-year-old right-hander is 20-for-22 in save opportunities and fourth overall in saves and he hasn't blown one since May 14, converting his past 12. He is 9-for-9 at Dodger Stadium.
A second-round pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Broxton is known for pushing scales and radar guns to the limit. His 300-pound frame generates the kind of power that regularly results in triple-digit readings on stadium radar guns. On Friday night, his fastball was clocked at 103 mph.
"I think it's a great honor," Broxton said. "I'm only in my third year, and to be selected, when there are so many big-name closers who have been around a while. I know I'm having a decent year. I just have to keep it going."
Hudson was a bargain free-agent signing because he was coming off serious wrist surgery. The former All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner became the first Dodger in 39 years to hit for the cycle on April 13, had an 11-game hitting streak in April and a 17-game hitting streak in May.
The 31-year-old switch-hitting Hudson, in his eighth Major League season, is one of just six winners of the Gold Glove Award in both leagues. He did it with Toronto and Arizona. Hudson already has 41 RBIs, matching his season total for last year.
Last season was cut short when Hudson suffered a perilunate dislocation of the left wrist while with Arizona. The fact that Hudson was still unemployed when Spring Training began had less to do with the economy and more to do with that left wrist, which exploded internally on a freak defensive play last August and required two operations to put back together.
Hudson was grateful for the honor but sounded more concerned with fighting his way out of an 0-for-21 slump.
"It's a trying time right now," he said. "I've got a flat tire and you can't call the tow truck, he don't come. I've got to find a way out of it, and I will. I have to get myself out of this funk. I'm definitely hard on myself, I want to do good. That's nature, bro. It's just part of it."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.