Washington likes having all AL pitchers available

Washington likes having all AL pitchers available

CHICAGO -- Rangers manager Ron Washington went into last year's All-Star Game without the best pitching staff the American League could offer.

This year, it's different.

With a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place, all pitchers will be eligible to take the mound in the All-Star Game, where previously, pitchers who worked on the Sunday before were ineligible.

"Only disadvantage I thought I had last year was the best pitchers we had in the American League couldn't pitch," Washington said Tuesday before his Rangers opened a three-game series with the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. "So with the rule change, if they're able to pitch, I feel pretty comfortable."

The only AL All-Star pitcher who is scheduled to start Sunday is Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez. Washington said he spoke with the Mariners and got the OK to get an inning from Hernandez in the Midsummer Classic. White Sox left-hander Chris Sale also was scheduled to start, but the White Sox are skipping him to limit the youngster's innings, giving Washington a full staff.

Washington said he is talking to every pitching coach to see what they would like done, and is excited to have a full staff.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that everyone that's there makes it through Sunday without any issues," Washington said. "And if they make it through Sunday without any issues, I love what I have."