Rockies reliever gets surprise trip to All-Star game |

Rockies reliever gets surprise trip to All-Star game

DENVER – Even the worst team in the league gets to send a player to the All-Star game. In the case of the Colorado Rockies, that means a surprise trip for closer Brian Fuentes, who had to cancel a camping trip he planned weeks ago.”We were going to rent an RV and camp out,” Fuentes said. “Who would have thought I would be doing something else?”Fuentes had every reason to make other plans for the All-Star break. He began the season as a set-up guy, the only left-hander in Colorado’s beleaguered bullpen.But when closer Chin-hui Tsao was lost for the season, Fuentes took over.He has converted 10 of 11 save opportunities since becoming the closer, and though the Rockies still lead the NL with 14 blown saves, Fuentes isn’t the main cause of the problem.”We’ve had some turbulence from our closers the last few years,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “Brian has provided us with some stability.”Though the 10 saves rank only 15th in the National League, Fuentes (1-3, 2.68 ERA) is an All-Star thanks, in part, to a decades-old rule in baseball that states every team must have at least one representative at the All-Star game.The Rockies, who came into Monday’s game against Los Angeles at 28-52, worst in the NL, had better candidates. But the team’s best player this year, shortstop Clint Barmes, went on the disabled list after a freak accident – he slipped and broke his collarbone while carrying deer meat up his apartment stairs last month.Meanwhile, Todd Helton, the team’s only bona fide star, has had a bad season, going just .269 with six homers through the first 80 games.That set things up for Fuentes, who said this will be his first All-Star game in anything since he was 10 years old, and playing in Little League.As for the camping trip to Grand Lake, in the mountains of Colorado: “I was going to take my wife,” Fuentes said. “She’ll understand.”

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