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Injury keeps Charlotte infielder Tyler Saladino out of all-star spotlight

By Seth Lakso
Correspondent
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/15/18/53/qITa1.Em.138.jpeg|228
    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte Knights shortstop Tyler Saladino (8) throws out a Lehigh Valley IronPigs runner at first from his right knee on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at BB&T BallPark in Charlotte, NC.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/15/18/26/RhR7A.Em.138.jpeg|342
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte Knights catcher Josh Phegley was added to the Triple-A All-Star roster Thursday. He was voted an all-star last season but was called up by the Chicago White Sox.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/15/18/27/1e9Vq5.Em.138.jpeg|156
    MARK HAMES - mhames@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte Knights catcher Josh Phegley has hit .264 this season and enters the break on a season-high 11-game hitting streak.

Despite being voted the International League’s starting shortstop in Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game in Durham, Tyler Saladino and his family – who flew in from San Diego – will be spending the break here in Charlotte.

The original plan was for the family to go and watch Tyler, 24, make his first appearance in an all-star game since Little League. However, a strained muscle in his throwing arm suffered in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on July 9th officially put an end to the idea this past Saturday.

“It is what it is, you know,” said Saladino, who leads all IL shortstops in hits (91), slugging percentage (.483) and batting average (.310). “It’s a bad time to have something come up.

“I’m not able to throw as well, and it’s not worth going out there and making it worse.”

Although the injury knocked Saladino from the All-Star game, which is set for 7:07 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, it didn’t stop him from collecting hits in the Knights’ final two games before the break as the team’s designated hitter.

Saladino was fast asleep on the bus ride to Norfolk back on July 2 when Charlotte reliever Taylor Thompson made his way back his seat to tell him the news.

“It was a real rewarding feeling,” said Saladino, who has reestablished himself as one of the better White Sox prospects this season. “It was a big sense of accomplishment. It was exciting being able to tell my family and friends and all that. It was a really special moment for me.”

Since getting the news he’d been voted to start the All-Star game, Saladino had been on a tear, hitting .350 with a home run and eight RBIs.

Although he was the lone Knights player voted into the IL’s starting lineup, Charlotte will still have a representative Wednesday: catcher Josh Phegley.

Phegley, 26, was added to the All-Star roster Thursday. The trip would have been his third in as many seasons had he not been in the Major Leagues with the Chicago White Sox at this time last season.

Phegley, who replaced the Pawtucket Red Sox’ Christian Vazquez (promoted to the majors) on the IL’s roster, is currently leading all IL catchers in home runs this season with 13. The 38th overall pick in 2009 has hit .264 and entered the break on a season-high 11-game hitting streak.

“It would have been nice to go with (Phegley),” Saladino said. “But I’m happy for him. He’s earned it.”

Charlotte second baseman Micah Johnson also earned All-Star honors by being named to Team USA in the Futures Game, which was held Sunday at Minnesota’s Target Field.

“It’s just a blessing. I think it’s a pretty cool experience,” said Johnson who has hit .297 with six stolen bases in 38 games with Charlotte. “It’s not something that I take lightly or anything like that, because I just don’t expect it.”

Because Johnson wasn’t promoted to the Knights until mid-May, he lacked the required at-bats to qualify as a Class AAA all-star.

At the time of his callup, Johnson was leading the Class-AA Southern League with a .329 average and 10 stolen bases.

He finished the futures game 0-for-2 but appeared to beat out a ground ball to short in one of his at-bats.

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