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Peter Gammons on M&M: All-Star Game ‘Tough thing to overcome’

07.14.11 at 1:46 pm ET
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MLB and NESN analyst Peter Gammons joined the Mut & Merloni show Thursday to talk about the Roger Clemens mistrial, the All-Star Game and the latest with the Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

‘€œThey are worrying more about steroids than they are about drunk drivers killing people,” Gammons said about the government and the Clemens trial. “It’€™s our tax dollars at work.’€

He said he is surprised with Thursday’s developments that the trial has been declared a mistrial.

‘€œI think it was a major surprise,” Gammons said. “A friend of mine who had been covering it, sent me an email saying the prosecution just blew its self up. They did a terrible job with it. It’s amazing. Rusty Hardin didn’€™t even need to pull the guns out, he was ready to go after Andy Pettitte and all sorts of people.’€

Added Gammons: “A lot of people seeing Clemens and [Barry] Bonds get hung on all this, but just go, ‘All right, enough is enough, let’s move on.’ I sense that they had done that in San Francisco. I thought this trial would be a salacious and vicious trial. The fact that they were bringing Pettitte into it and the fact the prosecutors screwed it up on day one. You would laugh if they didn’t realize how much money they spent on this.”

Gammons also discussed the All-Star Game and how many people within the game were upset with players leaving the game early, or not showing up at all.

‘€œIt was bad for the game,” Gammons said. “I know the commissioner’€™s office was pretty upset with the way all this went down. So many players were out of there by the eighth inning and on their planes going home. I think most people, I know Bud [Selig]  is upset about it and he should be, were left with the impression it doesn’€™t really matter.

“That is a tough thing for baseball to overcome. I am told that there were some words between the commissioner’s office and the players association, that the players association is supposed to think everybody was hurt, but at the same time it did have that impression of, ‘€˜OK, lets get this over with and see what happens.’€™ ‘€

Derek Jeter was one of the players that did not make the trip, but Gammons defended the Yankees shortstop to an extent.

‘€œThey needed to know by Thursday, and at that point he didn’€™t have his 3,000th career hit,” Gammons said. “I know he was fried, he was really taking a beating in the New York media about fading and everything and should [EduardoNunez be playing shortstop. Since the negotiations with the club last year he is taking things personally at times. In retrospect I think he would probably say ‘€˜I should have gone,’€™ but I don’€™t know he knew how he was going to feel Monday if he still had 2,999 hits.”

Gears shifted to the Red Sox and what they will be faced with after the season with free agents David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon. Gammons noted it will be a difficult decision on both players.

‘€œI think they will wait until the end of the season and sit down with Ortiz’s agent,” he said. “I think people will be cavalier and say let him go, DHs don’€™t make that kind of money any more. ‘€¦ Ortiz is different. I don’€™t think there is a comparable DH in baseball. Not only does he come back and have a very good year, but brings major fear in Boston, he is a popular guy and are they going to replace the production that he has had in the five hole this year?

I think Papelbon is going to be interesting too. Closers on the open market don’€™t make that kind of money, they don’€™t make the kind of money he is making this year. He is really good. There are going to be tough calls both ways.”

26-year-old reliever Daniel Bard could play a role in the Red Sox decision on what they do with Papelbon.

‘€œI think it does,” Gammons said. “I am still intrigued by the idea of having Bard start with the four pitches he has now. The way he throws he could be a really good starter, but I don’€™t think they will go in that direction. In terms of what it costs them, if it costs them three years and $36 [million] to $39 million to sign Papelbon, I don’€™t think they would do that. They are very confident that Bard can close. Of course they then would have to figure out how to get the seventh and eighth inning closed. I mean, it is a totally different world when you’€™re in the ninth inning and you have no one behind you. Except for a stretch last year Papelbon has been really good. He has been a major part of the success of this team.’€

Clay Buchholz is one of the three Red Sox pitchers on the disabled list. He has an injured back. Gammons sees this weekend and an important weekend for him, as well as the Red Sox starting rotation.

“I think we will find out a lot this weekend,” Gammons said. “A muscular problem they tell us it is nothing, but he is such a wired athlete and he has a great body, but it is very tight. I am worried about that muscle in there. They are telling him it wouldn’€™t bother him when he just threw, but it would bother him when he went into the stretch and things like that. It is a concern. Anytime when you have three pitchers of that level, All-Star pitchers and each one of them has something physically something wrong with them.”

Gammons then touched on another injured Red Sox starter, Josh Beckett. He noted how Beckett never gives any indication of an injury, and how important Beckett is to the staff.

“We all know Josh Beckett will never tell you if he is hurt,” he said. “We know now that between something on mound and pitching BP that he was never right last year. He could never get the ball down in the strike zone. He never complained about it, he never complained he was hurt in 2008. He said it is nothing, but we will have to see. If he doesn’€™t get the ball down in the strike zone like he has in the first half of the season then maybe it is a problem.’€

Gammons closed by saying he will be very surprised if the Red Sox traded for a pitcher such as Matt Garza of the Cubs. It has been rumored that the Sox could be pursuing the right-hander. He does not see the Sox trading a ton of prospects for a pitcher at this time.

Read More: Andy Pettitte, David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, Jonathan Papelbon
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