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Updated: July 8th, 2013 6:06pm
Closer Glen Perkins glad 'process is over with' and he's now an All-Star

Closer Glen Perkins glad 'process is over with' and he's now an All-Star

by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com
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Glen Perkins knew that he wasn't supposed to worry about if he was selected to the July 16 All-Star Game at Citi Field, but the Minnesota Twins closer admitted Monday it's easy to tell someone not to think about something and another to actually ignore it.

"My gut feeling was that I was going to," Perkins said during an appearance on "Judd & Dubay" on 1500 ESPN. "I thought I had done enough. But you waver a little bit and, to be honest with you, I stressed myself out and probably my whole family worrying about it.

"It's one of those things that you say is out of your control and you're not going to worry about it, you don't think about it, but you know it's there and you want to make it. That's a goal that I think everyone has when you get a chance to play in the major leagues. It's there, it hung over my head for a little while and I'm glad it worked out. As much as anything else, I'm glad the process is over with."

It worked out very well for Perkins, who found out he would be a first-time All-Star on Saturday. He will be one of two Twins playing for the American League in the game, joining catcher Joe Mauer, who like Perkins is a Minnesota native. Mauer will start at catcher for the American League for the fourth time in his career.

Perkins, who has 20 saves and a 1.93 ERA this season, was picked for the team by AL manager Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers. Perkins was named as an injury replacement for former Twin and current White Sox reliever Jesse Crain, who is on the disabled list because of a shoulder strain.

Crain, a setup man for the White Sox, has made a franchise-record 29 consecutive appearances without giving up a run and 31 in a row without surrendering an earned run. He has a 0.74 ERA.

"Jesse got in on the players' vote and you can't argue with that," Perkins said. "I voted for Mariano (Rivera), I voted for (Joe) Nathan and I voted for Jesse. So, it's not a surprise that he got in. He's had quite a year.

"I'm excited to thank Jim Leyland because he picked me and put me on that team. That's a guy that's been around the game a long time and if you can earn his respect I think you've really done something. Him picking me tells me that I've done that. I can't wait to shake his hand and thank him."

Asked where this ranks among his highlights in baseball, Perkins said: "This is right there.

"There was something about getting drafted, when (Twins general manager) Terry Ryan calls you. Then again, in the World Baseball (Classic) getting a call from Joe Torre. It was something that you watch that guy growing up and he's the manager.

"He's a legend in the game. He calls you and just for him to know my name and (tell me) that he wants me to play on his team is overwhelming. They are right there together. It's hard to rank the three. Maybe when I get there and this whole thing starts in a week or so it will sink in a little more. I think maybe in the end this will end up being number one."

As for the debate about whether Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig belongs on the NL team despite the fact he didn't arrive in the majors until June 3, Perkins said he understands both sides of the debate.

Puig wasn't elected by the fans or players but he could get in via online voting by fans that feature five candidates for the final spot or as an injury replacement. Puig entered Monday with a .409 batting average, eight home runs and 19 RBI in 32 games.

"There are two ways to look at it," Perkins said. "There's one of what you've accomplished and then there's the other thing of this is about the fans and it's about getting fans interested. I think that's a way, not that Cuba fans will get any more interested, I don't know if they get a chance to watch the game. ...

"But the Latin American fans and just a guy like that. Even now when he's not selected yet everyone is talking about him. I think that's important for the game. I think that a guy like that, I could see him going to the game and stealing the whole show. If I were in the National League and I voted, I definitely wouldn't vote for him as a player.

"I think there are guys that have accomplished more. But I have no problem with him being in the game. I think in the respect of how much people talk about him, his impact and what he means to the game, with the fans and all that, he belongs there."

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
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