PHILADELPHIA – Braves rookie closer Craig Kimbrel is headed for Tuesday’s All-Star game as a replacement for Giants pitcher Matt Cain, Major League Baseball announced Sunday night.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy waited until after Cain began his outing on Sunday night for the Giants before he named Kimbrel. Cain is ineligible for Tuesday’s game because he pitched on Sunday night.
Kimbrel has recorded 28 saves for the Braves to break Jonathan Papelbon’s major league record for saves by a rookie before the All-Star break. (Papelbon had 26 saves for the Red Sox in 2006).
Kimbrel hasn’t allowed a run in his past 14 appearances, while going 10-for-10 in saves and allowing just three hits and three walks. He leads all major league relievers with 70 strikeouts.
Bochy is believed to have chosen Kimbrel over his teammate Tommy Hanson, in large part because Kimbrel is a reliever who’s used to warming quickly to enter a game. Hanson, who’s 10-4 on the season, is fifth in the National League with a 2.52 ERA and first among qualified starters with a .192 opponents batting average.
Hanson couldn’t make the All-Star team as a replacement for Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, who also pitched Sunday, because Hamels was selected by player vote. Pirates pitcher Kevin Correia (11-7, 4.01), who was the next highest vote-getting in the player vote, was named as Hamels’ replacement. Cain was a manager’s choice.