By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Baseball Writer
Max Scherzer was back on the mound, striking out 11 in six scoreless innings of two-hit ball.
His impressive return came after he missed nearly seven weeks because of an oblique injury, and that lengthy absence is why the three-time Cy Young Award winner won’t be an All-Star in his first season with the New York Mets. The NL starter in last year’s game, Scherzer was 5-1 with a 2.26 ERA through his comeback last Tuesday night in Cincinnati, only his ninth start this year.
Scherzer is making a season-record $43.3 million in the first of his $130 million, three-year deal. But he isn’t the only player who got a big new contract before the 2022 season and wasn’t on the All-Star rosters released Sunday.
None of the 14 other players who signed deals worth at least $100 million, whether in free agency or to stay with their teams, is set to play July 19 at Dodger Stadium, either. That includes three who, like Scherzer, were All-Star starters last year with their old teams: Freddie Freeman, Nick Castellanos and Marcus Semien.
Among those missing from the All-Star rosters:
— Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years). The Texas Rangers shortstop and 2020 World Series MVP with the Los Angeles Dodgers has four homers his last five games and is hitting .245 with 19 homers and 45 RBIs.
— Wander Franco ($182 million, 11 years with club option for 12th). The 21-year-old shortstop for the Tampa Bay Rays is hitting .260 in 58 games. He just went on the injured list with a wrist injury and missed much of June with a right quadriceps strain.
— Kris Bryant ($182 million, 7 years). The left fielder/DH has been limited to 29 games in his debut with the Colorado Rockies after two IL stints because of lower back issues.
— Semien ($175 million, 7 years). After not hitting his first homer until May 28, in his 44th game with Texas, he has 10 homers his last 33 games. His 45 homers last season with Toronto set an MLB record for a second baseman.
— Matt Olson ($168 million, 8 years). Traded from Oakland in the spring to replace the departed Freeman at first base, Olson immediately signed a long-term deal with Atlanta and is hitting .254 with 13 homers and 49 RBIs.
— Freeman ($162 million, 6 years). A World Series champion with the Braves last season, he is hitting .304 with 11 homers and 54 RBIs in Los Angeles, but four of his Dodgers teammates are on the NL All-Star squad.
The others are Detroit shortstop Javier Báez, Boston second baseman Trevor Story, Toronto right-handers José Berríos and Kevin Gausman, Seattle lefty and 2021 AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, and shortstop Carlos Correa and center fielder Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins.
Yordan Álvarez, the 2019 AL Rookie of the Year, signed a $115 million, six-year contract last month. The Houston Astros DH has 26 homers and 60 RBIs but was put on the IL with a hand injury Sunday, the same day he was named to his first All-Star team.
While the All-Star break is often referred to as the marker between the first and second half of the season, all 30 teams in the last week completed at least 81 games — the real midpoint of a full 162-game schedule.
There is another full week of games to play before the All-Star Game.
The National League All-Star team will have a set of brothers in the starting lineup with Willson Contreras of the Chicago Cubs catching and William Contreras of the Braves as the designated hitter. When was the last time brothers started in the same All-Star Game?
LINE OF THE WEEK
Miami Marlins right-hander Sandy Alcantara has thrown 19 consecutive scoreless innings.
Alcantara struck out 10 in eight scoreless innings to beat the Los Angeles Angels last Tuesday, after a complete-game victory at St. Louis in his previous start. He then threw seven scoreless innings against the Mets on Sunday, when he named an All-Star for the second time.
Alcantara (9-3, 1.73 ERA) has already matched his career high for wins.
COMEBACK OF THE WEEK
Baltimore overcame a deficit with two outs in the ninth inning on July 4 against Rangers closer Joe Barlow, then won 7-6 in the 10th against Matt Moore. The Orioles repeated that in a 10-9 win the next night, again tying the game against Barlow with two outs in the ninth and beating Moore in the 10th.
The Orioles swept three games against Texas, then won four in a row against the Angels. That undefeated homestand was part of Baltimore’s first eight-game winning streak in the same season since 2005.
Sandy Alomar Jr. was the AL starting catcher in the 1992 All-Star Game, in the same lineup with second baseman Roberto Alomar. That was the third consecutive year both of them were All-Star starters. The last brothers to appear in the same All-Star Game were the Boones in 2003, with Aaron a reserve infielder for the NL and Bret the same for the AL.
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