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Tillman takes Verlander's All-Star spot

Tillman takes Verlander's All-Star spot

Tillman takes Verlander's All-Star spot

Soon after the American League All-Star rosters were announced, manager Jim Leyland had mentioned Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman as someone with a case that he was snubbed from the roster. He is a snub no more.

Nor are closers Grant Balfour of the A's and Greg Holland of the Royals, for that matter.

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With Justin Verlander starting for the Tigers on Sunday, Leyland replaced him on the roster with Tillman, who becomes the fifth Oriole on the All-Star squad. Likewise, Balfour and Holland replaced Hisashi Iwakuma and Bartolo Colon, both of whom started Sunday.

Leyland has made it clear he will not use any pitcher in the All-Star Game who started for his Major League team Sunday, two days ahead of the Midsummer Classic. Those pitchers will be replaced on the roster unless they refuse, but they won't pitch regardless.

The Tigers have had their rotation order set for the last couple of weeks, so Verlander knew the setup coming in. Like other All-Stars who are replaced, he'll take part in all the festivities, from Monday's media day to the Red Carpet Parade on Tuesday afternoon to pregame introductions Tuesday night. He just won't pitch in the game.

Tillman, on the other hand, stands a decent chance of pitching. Given his numbers heading into July, from a 10-2 record to a 3.68 ERA, he had a decent case to crack the initial roster anyway. Once Matt Moore replaced Yu Darvish earlier in the week, Tillman was the only AL pitcher with double-digit wins who wasn't on the team.

Tillman has split two decisions since while watching his ERA jump to 3.95, but he still ranked among the best of the replacement options. He last pitched Friday, allowing three runs on eight hits over six innings in a victory against the Blue Jays.

Leyland gave no inclination earlier this week towards replacing starting pitchers with relievers, but with Tillman and Matt Moore already replacing Verlander and Yu Darvish, his pool of potential replacements was running low. By contrast, he had an ample supply of deserving relievers.

Holland is 22-for-24 in save chances, but his efficiency is just part of his resume. He has quietly dominated hitters in the ninth inning for most of the season, from a .171 opposing batting average to 60 strikeouts over 35 innings entering Sunday. He hasn't blown a save since May 6, allowing two runs on eight hits over 23 innings with 41 strikeouts since then.

Balfour earns his first All-Star selection at age 35 amidst his second consecutive season holding down the closer's role in Oakland. His 25 saves entering Sunday ranked fourth in the league, having allowed just 27 hits over 37 2/3 innings with 13 walks and 38 strikeouts.

Balfour's selection ensures the reigning AL West champions have an active pitcher in the game, though Leyland wasn't required to make sure all teams were represented as such.

The trio of replacements bring the total to 38 first-time All-Stars, shattering the previous record of 35 set two years ago in Arizona.

The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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