July 13, 2008

The Indians' Cliff Lee and Ben Sheets of the Brewers have been chosen to start Tuesday's All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, SI.com has learned.

Sheets and Lee were informed late Sunday that they'd be getting the call. Neither pitcher has ever started an All-Star Game before.

They will be introduced as the starters at the All-Star press conference at 11 a.m. local time Monday morning.

The lefthander Lee, who is 12-2 with a 2.31 ERA, is the logical choice for American League All-Star Manager Terry Francona. Despite entering spring training having to win a spot in the Indians' rotation and playing for a team that has been an offensive disaster, Lee leads the A.L. in victories. He has easily been the best pitcher in that league all season.

The righthanded Sheets, who is 10-3 with a 2.85 ERA, is also having a superb season. His selection is the latest coup for the Brewers, who rocked baseball by acquiring star lefthander C.C. Sabathia from Lee's Cleveland team, then placed outfielder Corey Hart as on the All-Star team the final fan entry when he won a vote over New York Mets icon David Wright (who was later added to the team to replaced injured Alfonso Soriano) and three other players.

Sheets' selection may have been aided to some degree by fortuitous timing, as both Brandon Webb of Arizona and the Giants' Tim Lincecum pitched Sunday, and Reds sensation Edinson Volquez pitched Saturday.

It was understood that Webb and Lincecum wouldn't come back to start the game two days after starting, and Volquez was ruled out as an All-Star starter by Reds manager Dusty Baker, who told the Reds media, "(N.L. manager Clint) Hurdle said he would get him an inning in the middle. He wanted to start him but he has some wonderful options.''

Lee pitched Friday, making him the obvious candidate off his superb first half. And Sheets hasn't pitched since Wednesday, which gives him more than enough time.

The starting lineups for the All-Star Game also will be announced at this morning's press conference by Francona and Hurdle.

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