The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

July 17, 2013

Jones: 'Respect' for hard-throwing Chapman

(Continued)

With possible suspensions from the Biogenesis investigation looming over the game, Hunter defended Alex Rodriguez and other players who have been implicated in drug scandals over the years.

"I know how hard this game really is. I don't care what they did or who did or whatever, Barry Bonds all those guys," Hunter said Tuesday before the game at Citi Field. "Still impressive to hit. Still got to hit the ball."

On the lighter side, Hunter has his favorite All-Stars. Wacky All-Stars, that is.

"David Ortiz, for sure, craziest forever. He sits here and holds court and tells all the jokes," Hunter said. "He is one of the funniest guys in All-Star game history."

There's also: "Ichiro (Suzuki). Manny (Ramirez). Ah, Manny. Forgot about Manny. Ooh, boy he was crazy. Can't tell you the stories. Pedro (Martinez) was funny. He put bubble gum in everybody's hats."

"You got to have fun in this clubhouse," he added. "This is how we relax."

The one player he is certain isn't crazy: Yankees injured shortstop Derek Jeter.

"Jeter's smooth. He's like a cold drink of water. Too cool for school," Hunter said.

So what did Bonds say to Hunter 11 years ago when he scooped him up near second base in Milwaukee?

"Good catch kid, high five,'" Hunter said "I went high, he went low and picked me up. I tried to hold him down. Too strong."

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EXTRA BASES: During pregame introductions, the PA announcer confused Tampa Bay teammates Ben Zobrist and Matt Moore. The two laughed about it. ... Twins closer Glen Perkins talking to teammate Joe Mauer and Yankees 2B Robinson Cano: "You are the same," he said, pointing at each player, "I can't get you out." ... Mets Hall of Famer Tom Seaver threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He lined up on the rubber, then shuffled forward a few steps to laughs before throwing a wild one to Mets third baseman David Wright. ... MLB honored 30 military veterans who were winners of "Tribute for Heroes" campaign. All-Stars including Mariano Rivera gave the veterans flags. Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays presented the flag of Canada to a Canadian Forces veteran. ... Cleveland's Justin Masterson pushed the wheelchair of the veteran he was paired with off the field. Zobrist was matched with a vet and his dog.

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AP Sports Writers Mike Fitzpatrick and Rick Freeman, and AP freelancer David Freeman, contributed to this report.

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