Gone fishin? Not Angels reliever and AL all-star Jordan Walden
Those plans changed drastically --- for Walden and Cassevah --- on Thursday afternoon, when Walden was selected to replace New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera on the American League roster for Tuesday night's All-Star game in Phoenix.
"We were going to go fishing and boating," said Walden, the Angels' rookie closer. "Bobby is going to go home [to Florida] now. I'm not complaining at all."
Walden is 1-2 with a 2.95 earned-run average and 19 saves in 25 opportunities entering Thursday night's game against the Seattle Mariners in Angel Stadium, but the hard-throwing right-hander still had a hard time believing he was picked.
"I was surprised, very surprised," said Walden, who has 39 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings and has allowed only one home run this season. "My numbers aren't too good. I didn't expect to be an All-Star, but I'm happy. I'll definitely be ready to play in it."
Rivera, regarded as the greatest closer in baseball history, bowed out of the game because of a triceps injury.
Because Rivera was a player-elected all-star, his replacement was to be the next highest ranking relief pitcher who did not make the team via the player ballot. Walden ranked fifth among relief pitchers on the AL player ballot with 67 votes.
"Rivera is a great pitcher," said Walden, who will join Angels pitcher Jered Weaver and second baseman Howie Kendrick on the AL team. "Being in the same sentence with him is awesome."
The Angels lineup: 3B Maicer Izturis, RF Torii Hunter, DH Bobby Abreu, LF Vernon Wells, 2B Howie Kendrick, SS Erick Aybar, 1B Mark Trumbo, CF Peter Bourjos, C Jeff Mathis, P Jered Weaver.
The Mariners lineup: RF Ichiro Suzuki, SS Brendan Ryan, 1B Adam Kennedy, DH Justin Smoak, 2B Dustin Ackley, C Miguel Olivo, 3B Kyle Seager, CF Franklin Gutierrez, LF Carlos Peguero, P Doug Fister.
Photo: Angels closer Jordan Walden works the ninth inning in a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images / May 22, 2011