Monday, July 4, 2011
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
ATLANTA -- Jonny Venters was a struggling starter with Gwinnett less than two years ago, going 4-7 with a 5.62 ERA. Today, he's a National League All-Star.
"It's been a wild ride," the left-hander said. "It's all hard to believe what's happened, but I'm enjoying it. Going to the All-Star Game is really exciting."
Venters, who has a 1.59 ERA with a 4-1 record and three saves in 46 relief appearances, was one of four Braves selected Sunday for the July 12 game in Phoenix. Brian McCann won the fan vote to get his first start behind the plate in his sixth All-Star Game appearance, while right-hander Jair Jurrjens and third baseman Chipper Jones joined Venters in gaining spots by player votes.
Jones hadn't been to the All-Star Game since 2008 and didn't expect a trip this year.
"I was shocked," said the veteran, who had reconstructive knee surgery last season. "Fredi (Gonzalez) called me into his office. He told me and I was like, 'All right, where's the hidden camera?' Guess I better cancel my vacation now."
Jurrjens, who started the season on the disabled list and made one rehab start with Gwinnett in April, leads National League starters with a 1.89 ERA and is tied for the top spot with 11 victories. He could start for the NL in the game, but either Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee is probably the first choice.
Tommy Hanson was a candidate to make the All-Star Game, but NL manager Bruce Bochy of San Francisco didn't chose him. Hanson went into Monday night's start against Colorado with nine wins and a 2.62 ERA.
Craig Kimbrel, who had a NL-record 24 saves for a rookie before the All-Star Game, was also passed over by Bochy, who named four of his own pitchers.