The long, strange trip Mike Minor has taken to his first All-Star selection took another odd twist Saturday.
He’s not going to pitch Sunday for the Texas Rangers, who will give the left-hander an extended break in an effort to manage his innings for the second half.
There’s nothing strange about that.
However, Minor had to be replaced on the American League team because he was scheduled to pitch Sunday and would be ineligible to pitch Tuesday in the All-Star Game at Cleveland.
So, he’s technically eligible again, but MLB has already replaced him on the roster.
Huh. Or is it, huh?
“When you look at it, if we’re going to do this, I could have pitched,” Minor said. “We made that decision after other decisions. It’s a weird situation. It’s not fun to think about. When you think about the season and the collective effort of the team, it’s the best situation.”
Minor pitched Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels, laboring through 3 1/3 innings on 110 pitches. He will start the third game after the All-Star break next Saturday, giving him 10 days’ rest.
Minor has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, and his innings have spiked dramatically over where he was a season ago. Minor has thrown 117 innings, which is third in the league, and 1,863 pitches, which is fifth.
Lance Lynn is fifth in innings (115) and fourth in pitches (1,911). He started Thursday and will open the second half Thursday when the Rangers faced the Houston Astros.
Minor said that not pitching Tuesday will give him motivation to earn a second All-Star berth next season. For now, though, he is more concerned about the Rangers chasing down a playoff spot.
“We’ve been talking about it. The decision wasn’t made until yesterday,” Minor said. “Ten days off now is better than the short leash of last year: That was the thing we talked about. Woody talked about taking me out early. I don’t like that. I like pitching until I’m pretty much done. Either I’m tired or not throwing strikes or they’re hitting the ball around on me. I’d rather do this.”
The Rangers will recall left-hander Joe Palumbo to pitch Sunday, though they will likely use an opener ahead of him.