Holliday replaces Molina on NL
Matt Holliday is replacing Cardinals teammate Yadier Molina on the National League All-Star team. Molina was placed on the bereavement list Friday after his wife's grandfather died. The team said the catcher had returned to his native Puerto Rico. Holliday was one of the hottest hitters in the majors entering the final weekend before the break, batting .500 with four home runs, 21 RBI and 10 doubles over the last 18 games. He was batting .318 overall with 14 homers, 56 RBI and a .397 on-base average. It'll be the sixth All-Star appearance and third in a row for Holliday.
Stanton misses 4th straight game
Giancarlo Stanton was out of the Marlins' lineup for the fourth straight game with a right knee injury, but he expects to play Saturday and then be a full participant for next week's All-Star festivities, including the home run derby. Stanton is among the National League leaders with 19 homers. Stanton and Manager Ozzie Guillen said the injury will require surgery at some point.
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Phillies slugger Ryan Howard doubled in his first at-bat and went 2-for-4 in his season debut Friday night, a 5-0 loss to the Braves.
The former NL MVP has been sidelined the entire season after rupturing his left Achilles tendon while making the final out in Philadelphia's loss to St. Louis in Game 5 of the NL division series last October. He's missed 84 games.
"It feels good. I'm ready to go and get back in the swing of things," Howard said before the game.
Howard played in seven minor-league games and went 10-for-20 with a home run.
"We think he's ready to play and we want him in the lineup," Manager Charlie Manuel said. "We think he can handle it."
Howard was hoping to return by May before suffering a setback during spring training. He developed an infection around his Achilles that required a surgical procedure, forcing him to slow down his rehab.
■ The Red Sox placed second baseman Dustin Pedroia on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a hyperextended right thumb — the same one he hurt earlier in the season. "I'm pretty frustrated by it," the 2008 AL MVP said before Friday night's game against the Yankees. "It stinks. I'll be fine. I'll produce in a major way this season to help our team, I promise you guys that."
■ Starlin Castro was out of the lineup Friday for the first time this season because Manager Dale Sveum wanted to watch the game with the Cubs' prized young shortstop. Sveum said he wanted to talk about game situations with the 22-year-old Castro, who has committed more than his share of mental mistakes.
■ Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster is set to start Sunday's game against the Mets. The right-hander has been on the disabled list since June 18 because of a tight muscle in his back. Dempster has not allowed a run in 22 straight innings and has a 2.11 ERA.