7/11/2014 12:38 A.M. ET
Aybar calls first All-Star selection 'great honor'
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Erick Aybar has a Rawlings Gold Glove, played for three consecutive Angels playoff clubs and starred for the Dominican Republic's 2013 World Baseball Classic champions.
Now the versatile shortstop is an American League All-Star for the first time -- complete with an ovation from his Angels teammates in the visitors' clubhouse at Globe Life Park on Thursday.
"It's a great honor," Aybar said, having learned of his selection by Boston manager John Farrell. "My kids [ages 6 and 7] can see me play in the game. I love that."
Aybar, selected to replace injured outfielder Alex Gordon of the Royals, and Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox will back up starting shortstop Derek Jeter. The Yankees' captain was selected by the fans to start the Midsummer Classic in his final season. Ramirez was chosen by the players.
"Everybody's happy about Erick," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Our team's really happy for him. We felt from the beginning he should be an All-Star. I don't think there's any question he's All-Star-worthy.
"There aren't many guys who can do all the things Erick can do. I think he's one of the top three shortstops in baseball."
Aybar's the first Angels shortstop to make the All-Star team since Gary DiSarcina in 1995. Aybar's 45 RBIs entering Thursday led all AL shortstops. He joins Ervin Santana, Vladimir Guerrero and Bartolo Colon as the Dominican Republic-born Angels players to make All-Star teams. He speaks with Guerrero, his early role model, frequently and said he'd be calling him soon.
Asked if this is the best of his nine seasons, Aybar said, "I don't know. I come here every day to learn more. Albert [Pujols] helps me a lot. He talks to me every day."
Aybar has been using one of Pujols' bats this season. It's an ounce heavier than his old ones.
"It's my lucky bat," Aybar said, grinning.
Wilson placed on DL with sprained right ankle
ARLINGTON -- The Angels on Thursday placed starter C.J. Wilson on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right ankle. Manager Mike Scioscia said Wilson, who remained in Southern California for treatment, "hopefully is missing a start or two at most."
Summoned from Double-A Arkansas was right-hander Drew Rucinski. Another reliever, Cory Rasmus, was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento. Dispatched to Arkansas was reliever Cam Bedrosian. Left-hander Nick Maronde was designated for assignment.
After a strong start this season, Wilson has been going through a rough stretch. Over his past eight starts, he owns a 6.81 ERA despite a 2-2 record.
'"C.J. has struggled," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "He hasn't had a good run. He knows it. We'll monitor how it goes. We don't anticipate this being a long thing with C.J."
The Angels will finish the first half with Garrett Richards, Jered Weaver and Tyler Skaggs on the mound against the Rangers over the weekend. Hector Santiago, who got the start in Thursday night's opener, is the swing man with Matt Shoemaker and Wilson filling out the rotation.
"I think it will have that benefit," Scioscia said when asked if the All-Star break comes at a good time for Wilson. "C.J.'s been kind of banging his head against the wall trying to get back to where he was. Maybe by exhaling a little and getting perspective, he can get back there a little quicker -- and he will."
The veteran southpaw is 8-6 with a 4.33 ERA overall in 19 outings. He sustained the injury fielding a ground ball in his start Wednesday, which lasted only 3 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays.
Richards disappointed he's not an All-Star
ARLINGTON -- In the midst of a remarkable breakout season, Angels starter Garrett Richards expressed disappointment in not making the American League All-Star team in the Final Vote won by White Sox lefty Chris Sale, another pitcher having a great season.
Sale edged Richards in the 13th annual All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian after 92 hours of relentless fan balloting. Sale racked up 6.7 million votes, edging Richards, the AL runner-up. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo made it a Windy City sweep, winning the nod in the National League.
"It was fun to be part of," Richards, 26, said. "It's awesome to see my teammates come together and the fans, how they supported me. Thank you to everyone who voted for me and supported me. I'll just have to do better next year."
Richards is 10-2 with a 2.71 ERA in 18 starts in his first full season in the Angels' rotation. He has 119 strikeouts in 116 1/3 innings and has held hitters to a .196 batting average -- second in the league to Sale's .190.
"I was really pulling for Garrett -- he deserved to be on the team," said Mike Trout, the superstar center fielder who will be joined by teammate Erick Aybar in Minnesota. "I'm disappointed for Garrett. He's an All-Star in my book."
Sale, the winning pitcher of last year's All-Star Game with two innings of scoreless relief, is 8-1, 2.08 with a 0.84 WHIP. Sale is the fourth White Sox player to win the Final Vote, the most of any team.
Richards stands ready to hop a flight to Minnesota if a call to action comes before game time Tuesday at 5 p.m. PT at Target Field.
"If a spot were to open up," he said, "I'd be happy to take it."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia expressed the team-wide disappointment in Richards not making a staff loaded with household names.
"Were disappointed," Scioscia said. "In our mind, Garrett is an All-Star. He's had an incredible season. We know the selection process isn't perfect. It's a tribute for him to be selected into the five for the vote, but naturally were disappointed."
Rucinski 'thrilled' to reach The Show
ARLINGTON -- Just a year and a half removed from pitching in independent ball, Drew Rucinski found himself in the Major Leagues on Thursday, beaming over the improbable nature of his promotion to a role with the Angels.
"It's awesome," said Rucinski, a 25-year-old right-hander who calls Oklahoma home and attended Ohio State University. "I'm excited -- and grateful for the opportunity."
Rucinski has been having a terrific season at Double-A Arkansas, where he's 7-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 17 starts. He had 85 strikeouts against only 28 walks, with a 1.14 WHIP, in 95 2/3 innings.
"I found out [Wednesday] night in Tulsa," Rucinski said, the Travelers involved in a series with their Texas League rivals. "They told me to pack up and come here. Baseball's crazy. You never know what's going to happen."
His repertoire includes a four-seam fastball in the 90-94 mph range, slider, changeup and split.
"The reports on him are good," Angels manager Mike Scisocia said.
Rucinski, who made his Major League debut in Friday's 15-6 win, said he's eager to do whatever the skipper has in mind. In one inning, he allowed two runs on four hits and struck out one.
"I'm just thrilled to be here," said the man who was released by Cleveland before catching on with Rockford in the Independent League.
Signed last summer by the Angels, he was 2-2 with a 1.86 ERA in five starts for Class A Inland Empire last season.
Rucinski takes Nick Maronde's place on the 40-man roster. Maronde, who was designated for assignment Thursday, was impressive in a late-season 2012 callup, but has struggled with his control. After making the Opening Day roster, he appeared in 11 games for the Angels this season with a 12.79 ERA in 6 1/3 innings. Dividing time between Salt Lake and Arkansas, he walked 30 hitters in a total of 16 innings.
Lyle Spencer is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.