Just one day after Los Angeles Dodgers' shortstop Rafael Furcal was named as a replacement on the National League All-Star team, lefty reliever Hong-Chih Kuo was informed of his addition to the squad on Sunday.
Kuo and Furcal will join fellow teammates Jonathan Broxton and Andre Ethier in the Midsummer Classic in Anaheim, which takes place on Tuesday.
Kuo, who was added as a late replacement for Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, makes his first appearance as an All-Star after four arm surgeries nearly took him out of baseball completely.
In terms of the stat sheet, Kuo normally flies under the radar, but 2010 has proven that he is one of the premier left-handed set-up men in the game.
At the halfway mark in 2010, Kuo is 3-1 with two saves and 12 holds. He boasts a 1.03 ERA, a 0.72 WHIP and has struck out 36 batters in just over 26 innings of work.
His most startling statistic is that left-handed batters are a staggering 0-for-30 when facing him.
Furcal was added to the National League All-Star team Saturday to replace injured Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, and makes his second career All-Star appearance, his last coming as a member of the Atlanta Braves in 2003.
Despite missing almost a full month with a strained hamstring, and another five days on bereavement leave to pay respects to his father, Rafael Furcal's first half of the season was nothing short of amazing.
His stat line is .333/.379/.513, and he already has six home runs and 35 RBI, which are an added bonus for a leadoff man. His 14 stolen bases are tied for the team lead with Matt Kemp and he's also contributed with 47 runs scored, 14 doubles, and five triples.
Andre Ethier was selected to his first All-Star team on the original ballot voted by the fans, and Jonathan Broxton was hand-picked as a member of the pitching staff by Philadelphia Phillies and National League All-Star manager Charlie Manuel.
Dodger fans everywhere expressed disappointment with the players' vote and Manuel's decision not to include Furcal and Kuo on the team. But in the end, a sense of justice prevailed, and the pair were indeed recognized for their stellar first halves of play.
Besides serving as one of the League's most popular commercial venues and showcasing all of baseball's top players on a single stage, an underlying theme of the All-Star Game is that the winner earns home-field advantage for that respective League's representative in the World Series—an edge the National League hasn't earned since the rule went into effect in 2002.
The Los Angeles Dodgers certainly hope that their All-Star representatives shine for both Dodgertown and the NL, and gain the very important home-field advantage for the National League—just in case they happen to be that squad competing in the October Classic.
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