FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Former Arkansas Razorback Cliff Lee was named the starting pitcher for the American League in Major League Baseball’s 79th All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. Former Razorback Jess Todd was also featured during the all-star festivities as a member of Team USA in the XM All-Stars Futures Game.
Lee was named the starting pitcher for the American League on Monday by manager Terry Francona of the Boston Red Sox. This season he has earned a 12-2 record with a 2.31 earned run average over 18 starts. The former Hog is in his seventh season with the Cleveland Indians after getting drafted by Montreal Expos in the fourth round of the 2000 draft.
Lee’s appointment to the American League All-Star team is the first of his career and is well deserved considering that he is the first Indians pitcher in 12 years to open a season with at least an 11-1 record. Former Indian great Charles Nagy was the last to accomplish the task in 1996.
Todd’s day at the ballpark came on Sunday afternoon. Minor league players from across the country assembled at the “House that Ruth Built” to play in the Future’s game which showcases the best talent that the minor leagues have to offer. Todd is currently pitching for the Springfield Cardinals of the Texas League, a double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Entering the game in the fourth inning down by a run, Todd walked the first batter he faced on four pitches. He came back to throw two strikes to the next batter before working the count full. On the seventh pitch of that at-bat, Todd sat down the World All-Stars player with a swinging strikeout which led to a strikeout-throw out double play as the runner on first was gunned down attempting to move to second. Todd would throw six pitches to the third and final batter he faced an induced a ground out to shortstop. His all-star appearance saw him throw 17 pitches, 11 for strikes and work a perfect 1-2-3 inning.
Current Razorbacks are currently working toward their summer league all-star games. The Cape Cod League is scheduled to play on July 26 and the West Coast Collegiate League is slated for July 22.
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