Wednesday was a great day for Heath Bell. First, he received an e-mail from Marine Tim Roadcap, who wrote to Bell to tell him that Marines around the world were organizing to cast votes on the closer's behalf for the final spot on the National League All-Star team. Bell, who is the son of a Marine, has built a following in the military community through his work with the Wounded Warriors Association.
07/09/2010 12:57 PM ET
Bell gets All-Star support from Marines
Padres closer added to National League roster as replacement
"On Tuesday, I knew I was going to lose on the fan vote, what with teams (the Reds/Red Sox and Nationals/Rangers) joining up to get their players voted in," Bell told the San Diego Union Tribune. "I don't think that's right, but it is what it is. Then I got the e-mail and thought, 'The Marines coming to help me, maybe I do have a chance.'
"Honestly, that e-mail was the coolest thing in the world. It really lifted my spirits."
As it would turn out, there would be no need for the Marines to organize their voting bloc. Bell got a call 30 minutes after he read his e-mail inviting him to the All-Star Game as a replacement for the injured Yovani Gallardo. Bell, who is 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA and 23 saves, will be going to his second straight All-Star Game and will again be joining teammate Adrian Gonzalez.
Garza lends a hand to bullpen with save: With the Tampa Bay bullpen overworked, Matt Garza stepped in as closer Wednesday and earned the save in the Rays' win over Boston.
When he got to the park, Garza was told to hold off from his normal throwing session in case he was needed in relief that night. It was only Garza's third career relief appearance and first career save.
"[Pitching coach Jim Hickey] came in and said if I need you, can you go, and I said, yeah, it's my side [session] day anyway, so let's dance," Garza told the St. Petersburg Times. "My name got called, and I was like, let's go. It was a lot of fun, a lot of adrenaline, a lot of energy. And I just let it go."
Starlin Castro, DeJesus speaking the same language: Starlin Castro and Cubs first base coach Ivan DeJesus have more in common than their position (shortstop). Both speak Spanish -- and that's very helpful to Castro when others are talking with him.
"I'm Latin, and I know his language for the communication," DeJesus told MLB.com. "That helps a lot. We want to make sure he understands what we're saying. That's where I come in say, 'This is what [bench coach Alan Trammell] is trying to tell you,' in his own language, so he knows what's going on."
Swisher joins father as All-Star pick: Nick Swisher became the eighth New York Yankees player to be named to the AL All-Star team after winning the fan vote for the final roster spot.
"It's going to be great to be there, I am juiced," Swisher told the New York Post. "I am excited, a father-and-son combo is really cool. He was proud of me. One of the greatest things is your dad saying he is proud of you."
Swisher's father, Steve, played nine seasons in the Majors and was an NL All-Star in 1976.
Final spot brings relief to Votto: Having won the final spot on the NL All-Star team as voted by the fans, Joey Votto described his emotions with one word.
"I would say I'm relieved," Votto told MLB.com. "I'm really glad this whole thing is over with. It was kind of taxing on me. I'm excited, and I really, really appreciate the fans and their support."
Miguel Cabrera always tries to put on a hitting show: Miguel Cabrera likes to put on a batting-practice show for fans.
"When they see the ball carry, they want a good show," Cabrera told MLB.com. "Here at home, they know I can't hit too far away, because this park is too big. But when you play like in Minnesota, they want me to hit home runs. They feel good."
Dunn's three homers are a first at Nationals Park: On Wednesday against the Padres, Adam Dunn became the first player to hit three home runs in Nationals Park.
Dunn has hit 336 lifetime homers, but this was the first time he ever connected for three in one game. Dunn insisted that he did not change anything in his final at-bat.
"I don't have an approach to change, man," Dunn told the The Washington Post. "That's all I got."
"It's pretty cool to hit three homers," Dunn said. "I don't feel any different than I have in the past. I just got a pitch to hit, and I didn't miss it."
Mazzaro bringing confidence with opportunity: The A's have a wealth of young pitching and that kept Vin Mazzaro from making the team out of Spring Training. But injuries to the rotation gave him a shot in the Majors and now Mazzaro is looking for his third straight win.
"Once you have a good game in you, it kind of gives you a big boost," Mazzaro told the Oakland Tribune. "You see yourself achieving your goals in between starts with what you're working on. I'm just feeling good, strong, healthy. I've just got all the confidence in the world right now."
"I think you see a lot more confidence and trusting his stuff," teammate Andrew Bailey said of Mazzaro. "I think he learned a lot starting the year in Triple-A and coming back up here with a little different attitude."
Oswalt moves closer to top of wins list: After throwing a one-hitter in a 2-0 victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday, Roy Oswalt is one win away from tying Joe Niekro for the team record of 144 wins.
"I started my career here, and hopefully I can catch him," Oswalt, who has 143 wins, told the Houston Chronicle. "I set out to do that at the beginning of the year. I'm getting pretty close, but I haven't gotten there yet.
"I've been here for 10 years now, and there's a lot of great pitchers who have come through here. You start talking about names like Nolan [Ryan], [Mike] Scott, Niekro and [Larry] Dierker. That's some pretty good quality names there.
"Any time you get mentioned in same sentence as them, it's pretty special."
Norberto proving effective vs. lefties: The Diamondbacks were looking for a left-handed reliever to add to the bullpen, so they recalled Jordan Norberto from Triple-A Reno. Since joining the club, Norberto has appeared in three games, pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
"Norberto has been a really nice addition for us," interim manager Kirk Gibson told the The Arizona Republic.
-- Red Line Editorial