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Weaver to start for AL

Photo by Lori Shepler

Photo by Lori Shepler

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Angels ace Jered Weaver has been told he'll start for the AL in Tuesday's All-Star game.

Weaver said he got the news on Sunday from Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia, who got a call from Texas' Ron Washington. The defending AL champion Rangers' manager picks the starter.

"It's very exciting," Weaver said. "Never in my life would I think that I'd even be in an All-Star game, let alone starting. I'd like to thank Ron Washington for the opportunity. It should be fun."

Weaver was the strong favorite for the job after going 11-4 with a major league-leading 1.86 ERA before the break. He threw a six-hitter in his final tuneup against the Seattle Mariners last Thursday, earning his fifth straight victory.

The lanky right-hander has gone at least seven innings in each start during a nine-game stretch without a loss, giving up just 10 earned runs.

Weaver has thrown four of his eight career complete games this season, solidifying his spot among the majors' top handful of starters. He feels a particular responsibility to play well in his first All-Star action, knowing a victory conceivably could give the Angels homefield advantage in the World Series.

"They've put a pretty big stake on the game, so it's important," Weaver said. "It's obviously something that people take a lot more seriously than in past years."

Weaver will be the first Angels pitcher to start an All-Star game since Mark Langston in 1993. His ERA is the lowest in franchise history for a starter at the All-Star break.

Weaver also had an edge for the starting job because several fellow candidates pitched on Sunday, including Detroit's Justin Verlander, Seattle's Felix Hernandez, Tampa Bay's James Shields and the Yankees' CC Sabathia. Pitchers who play on Sunday aren't allowed to pitch in All-Star games.

Hernandez, who pitched seven innings of six-hit ball in Seattle's 4-2 loss to the Angels on Sunday, is disappointed by the rule. Weaver knows his pain: He was picked for his first All-Star team last summer, but wasn't allowed to pitch in his home park.

Scioscia wouldn't confirm Weaver's honor, but believes his ace is among baseball's best.

"I don't know if at any one time you can pick the best pitcher, but what I look at is a top five," Scioscia said earlier this week. "On any given day, you can call any one of them the best pitcher. Weave is clearly in that group, not only in our league ... but in all of baseball. He's solidly in that top five, and that's quite a grouping to be in."