By Josh Cook
Louisville Bats Chris Valaika and Travis Wood have been selected to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game it was announced Wednesday.
Valaika, the Bats' second baseman and most consistent player this season, and Wood, was chosen as a second baseman and Wood a left-handed pitcher whose record doesn't indicate his worth, were chosen to the team by votes of fans, media and team field staff. They will represent the International League against the Pacific Coast League All-Stars on July 14 in Allentown, Penn. at Lehigh Valley's Coca-Cola Park.
Valaika was chosen as a starter based on voting from fans and managers, while Wood was chosen by the league office. Wood, though, might not be around then.
He has been called up by the parent Cincinnati Reds and will start for them Thursday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs.
Valaika has been arguably the Bats' most valuable player so far this season. In 77 games he's batting .292 and is tied for the team lead with 81 hits. He has also scored 30 runs and knocked in 26 in addition to being sure-handed in the field.
Wood has a 5-6 record in 15 starts for the Bats, but it's deceptive. He leads the team in innings pitched (98) and strikeouts (97), and is second and third, respectively, in the IL in those statistical categories. He also ranks fourth in the IL in WHIP (1.08) and earned-run average (3.12).
Since May 18 Wood has eight straight quality starts with a 1.62 ERA. In his last start (last Friday) he threw eight shutout inning, allowing five hits while striking out nine in a 7-0 win at Norfolk. In his last four starts Wood recorded 34 strikeouts (8.5 per game) and is averaging 6.5 strikeouts per game on the season. He struck out a career-high 11 on May 18 at Lehigh Valley.
The IL team will be led by Charlie Montoyo, the manager of the Durham Bulls, who the Bats are currently facing.