An unexpected start

White Sox left-hander Clayton Richard didn’t know he was getting the start for the U.S. team until he arrived to Yankee Stadium this morning. He’d be lying if he told you he didn’t think about the aura of this ballpark beforehand.

“Once you’re on the mound, it’s baseball,” he said. “But before the game, you can’t help but think about all the people who have played here and made this ballpark what it is.”

Richard earned today’s start with a breakthrough ’08 that has seen him ascend from Double-A Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte. Combined between the two stops, he is 12-6 with a 2.44 ERA.

“I’m doing the little things better,” he said. “I’ve just been focusing on getting ahead of hitters a little more. That’s been the key.”

As for taking the ball first today, Richard, who gave up a run in the first, said, “It was a great opportunity. I’m glad I got to experience it.”

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