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Hurdle offers All-Star suggestions

Hurdle offers All-Star suggestions

DENVER -- Apparently making the All-Star Game count isn't enough.

As exciting as the 79th Midsummer Classic was, the 15-inning marathon still exposed flaws in the current system.

Both National League manager Clint Hurdle and American League manager Terry Francona were down to their final pitchers, and had the game gone on much longer, Commissioner Bud Selig would have faced a predicament he hoped he'd never have to face again after the ending to the 2002 All-Star Game: a possible tie.

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On Friday, Hurdle spoke with Selig and Joe Garagiola Jr., the senior vice president of baseball operations for MLB, on possible ways to prevent similar dilemmas in the future.

"The game in and of itself was awesome," Hurdle said on Friday. "And unfortunately there's always going to be a percentage of people who are going to want to look at the other side of the glass, and that's not what I'm here for and weren't the reasons for these discussions."

Hurdle wouldn't reveal exactly what was said during those discussions, but he hinted the conversation centered on ways to insure there would be enough available pitchers who were on sufficient rest for future All-Star Games.

Both Hurdle and Francona ran into problems when they were forced to use pitchers who were just coming off starts before the All-Star break.

Arizona ace Brandon Webb went seven innings two days earlier, but he had to pitch the 14th inning in New York. The Rays asked Francona to avoid using Scott Kazmir, who threw 104 pitches on Sunday, but Francona was forced to use Kazmir when the game reached the 15th inning and no other options were available.

"It all works together so well, but I think we've seen now a different scenario that was presented to us," Hurdle said. "There might be a way to provide more flexibility or protection [for the pitchers]."

Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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