|Bulls Pitcher Jeff Niemann Named to International League All-Star Team
The International League has announced the members of its 2007 All-Star team with pitcher Jeff Niemann elected to represent the Durham Bulls.
The squad of 28 league standouts will take on the Pacific Coast League’s best in the 20th annual Triple-A All-Star Game, slated for July 11th at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. First pitch is set for 7:35pm (EDT). Many names on the IL roster can be found atop the leaderboards in several of the league’s statistical categories. Louisville utility man and current Triple-A batting-leader Jeff Keppinger (.359 2HR, 12RBI) was selected to the team and will be joined by Rochester infielder Matt Tolbert (.349, 3 HR, 27 RBI) who sits in second place in the IL batting race. Toledo’s Timo Perez is the league’s leader in hits and doubles and was elected to an outfield spot on the team.
In the heart of this potent lineup, Toledo sluggers Mike Hessman (.268, 23 HR, 75 RBI) and Ryan Raburn (.302, 15 HR, 59 RBI) will team up with Shelley Duncan (.302, 19 HR, 58 RBI) of the Scranton/WB Yankees to round out a powerful trio that currently holds the top three spots in the league’s home run, RBI, and slugging percentage categories.
Currently tied for the league lead in victories, Indianapolis hurler Bryan Bullington (9-4, 3.43 ERA) was elected as a starting pitcher along with the league’s 2nd-place strikeout specialist, Jeff Niemann (8-4, 3.65 ERA) of the Durham Bulls. Anchoring the bullpen will be the IL’s top two closers, Norfolk’s Cory Doyne (1.82 ERA, 21 Saves) and Columbus’ Chris Booker (3.74 ERA, 20 Saves).
The IL All-Star squad is made up of 13 elected players who have received the most votes from ballots submitted by clubs’ field managers and general managers (1/3), selected members of the media (1/3), and online fan voting (1/3). Each of the IL’s 14 clubs will be sending representatives to Albuquerque, with the Rochester Red Wings leading the way with four All- Stars, followed by Indianapolis, Louisville, Pawtucket, and defending two-time Governors’ Cup Champion Toledo, who will all send three players.
The International League will look to pick up its second consecutive win at the mid-summer classic after coming out victorious in the 2006 All-Star Game held in Toledo, Ohio. This will be the tenth showdown under the current IL vs. PCL format, as the first ten contests pitted All-Stars selected from National League affiliates against those from the American League. The PCL currently leads the overall series with a record of 5-and-4.
Additional information about the 2007 Triple-A All-Star Game and its festivities can be found on the official websites of the Pacific Coast League, the International League, and the Albuquerque Isotopes.