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Hurlers ready for brief All-Star outings07/12/2011 8:04 PM ET
By Jared Ravich / MLB.com
SALT LAKE CITY -- Under the majestic gaze of the Wasatch Front, the brightest stars in the Minors are set to shine in the 24th Annual Triple-A All-Star Game.
Left-hander Brad Mills of Las Vegas takes the mound at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday night at Spring Mobile Ballpark, where the Pacific Coast League plays host to Columbus right-hander Zach McAllister and the International League All-Stars.
Though he's been an elected All-Star in the past, Mills will be pitching in a midseason showcase for the first time.
"I'm excited," said the slender 6-footer. "No jitters."
If he appears in control of his emotions, that's on par with his pitching this season. Mills has a league-leading 99 strikeouts to just 30 walks in 2011. He brings a 3.97 ERA with him from Las Vegas, a town with a park not known for being pitcher-friendly.
"I'm kind of viewing it as a long bullpen. It'll be five days' rest since my last start tomorrow. Then I'm getting another three days' rest before my next start after the break. I'm not throwing anything in between, so I'm looking at this as a nice rest period and an extended bullpen session tomorrow."
McAllister, a towering 6-5 righty, brings a sparkling 2.97 ERA and 71 strikeouts to just 21 walks. Tied for the league lead with three complete games this season, McAllister will have a different assignment, starting a game in which no pitcher is usually expected to deal for more than an inning.
"I'm still going to go about it like I normally would as a start," he said. "Maybe let it go a little more instead of pacing myself. I think it's my third [All-Star appearance]. I started a game in Double-A too."
From the hitters' perspective, a different pitcher every inning means taking advantage of every opportunity. Some All-Star Games feature guys throwing knucklers and 55-mph curves, but this year's pitching staffs for both clubs feature one fast arm after another.
"You don't get a chance for a second shot," said PCL skipper Lorenzo Bundy. "You kind of want to be aggressive. Most of these guys, they wouldn't be here if they weren't strike throwers. So if we can get a chance to take a fastball early away from some of these guys, and get on something, that would be the best thing.
"It should be interesting. Most of these hitters have the reputation of getting on the heater. So it's a little mano-a-mano. Should be fun."
So who's going to win?
"The PCL," said Bundy. "No doubt."
Watch the game: This year's All-Star Game will be televised like no other. MLB Network's Chris Rose and Kevin Millar will call the action and, during the game telecast, Millar will visit each dugout for live in-game interviews with players from both leagues.
Six players, both catchers, both first basemen and the home plate umpire will have live wireless microphones. In addition, MLB Network will have microphones picking up live sound on the bases, outfield wall and pitching mound, as well as behind home plate and throughout the stadium.
"You'll hear the pop of the glove, guys digging in," said MLB Network senior producer Chris Pfeiffer. "You'll see the game in a different way."
MiLB.TV will have a live stream of MLB Network's coverage of the All-Star Game available through MiLB.TV, and fans also will be able to watch on-demand highlights of the game during the event and after its conclusion.
Starting Lineups: The lineups were announced Tuesday afternoon. The visiting International League bats first.
Pacific Coast League