Jeter leading off for power-packed AL lineup
Shortstop set for 14th, final All-Star Game; Trout, Cano, Miggy, Bautista form 2-3-4-5
MINNEAPOLIS -- When he set his lineup for Tuesday night's All-Star Game, American League manager John Farrell made sure Yankees icon Derek Jeter would have a chance to impact the game as quickly as possible.
Jeter, who will retire following the season, will bat leadoff in his 14th and final All-Star Game.
"[It's a way] to celebrate a player who's not only a champion but a guy that sets the bar that I think all players should aspire to -- the way he's handled himself with class, with performance, no doubt a Hall of Famer," said Farrell. "This will be a day that many baseball fans that are either in the ballpark or watching, [they] will remember Derek's last All-Star Game."
Managing the All-Star Game for the first time in his career, Farrell, who guided the Red Sox to a World Series championship in 2013, relished the opportunity to be able to put together such a stacked lineup.
Following Jeter, Farrell lined up Mike Trout, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones, Josh Donaldson and Salvador Perez.
"I think any time you're surrounded by that caliber of players and you get the fortunate ability to see them across the field or compete on the same field with them, and to see them assembled in one clubhouse, it's a rare opportunity," Farrell said.
"But when you think about the depth -- and you look at a third baseman with Oakland who's hitting in the 8-hole that's got nearly 20 home runs -- just by position in the lineup, it reflects the caliber of players, the depth in it and the reserves will be coming in behind these guys are deserving to start in their own right. It's a rare and unique opportunity."
Felix Hernandez, the Mariners' electric ace, will start for the AL in the 85th All-Star Game, which takes place at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday night on FOX. There's at least a chance Red Sox right-hander Koji Uehara might close it.
"I think when we look at the closing candidates for our American League squad, we have five very capable, very successful closers, Koji being one of them," said Farrell. "We have yet to determine and name internally who we would build back to, but Koji has had a phenomenal year and a half since he has been moved into our closer role."
In both World Series championships Farrell has won -- the first in 2007 as a pitching coach with the Red Sox and last year as manager -- his team capitalized on having home-field advantage.
Once again, the winner of Tuesday's game will determine which league gets home field in the World Series.
"I don't think you can ever underestimate the home-field advantage in a postseason -- certainly a seven-game series," Farrell said. "Typically you're going to go up against an outstanding club, as we did last year in St. Louis. And to have that final game potentially in your home ballpark, that goes a long way to affecting the outcome."
For one game, Farrell gets to be reunited with Bautista, the slugger he managed in Toronto for two seasons.
"Having the fortunate ability to be with him two years in Toronto, you gain such an appreciation of a player that never takes a play off," said Farrell. "His work ethic, certainly his talents and his performance. To see Jose among this group, he'll stand out among this group as well, and to see him in that role, knowing that he has been the leader of the [voting], he's very worthy of it and I know he and his teammates are having a heck of a year in Toronto."
American League All-Star lineup
1. SS Derek Jeter, Yankees
2. LF Mike Trout, Angels
3. 2B Robinson Cano, Mariners
4. 1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
5. RF Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
6. DH Nelson Cruz, Orioles
7. CF Adam Jones, Orioles
8. 3B Josh Donaldson, A's
9. C Salvador Perez, Royals
SP Felix Hernandez, Mariners