MINNEAPOLIS -- Though their careers have overlapped for nine seasons, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright have never crossed paths on the field. That will change on Tuesday in a moment that may be the most highly anticipated of this year's All-Star Game.
With Wainwright tapped as the National League starter and Jeter plugged into the leadoff spot in John Farrell's American League lineup, the two are assured of facing each other at Target Field in the bottom of the first. It will be the first time ever -- counting Spring Training, regular season and postseason games -- that Wainwright will throw a pitch to the Yankees captain.
"I'm very excited about it, just to say I've faced the best," Wainwright said on Monday, shortly after being announced as the starter. "He is undoubtedly the best to ever play his position, one of the great Yankees of all time. I'm very fortunate, and I feel very proud to say that I'm going to face Derek Jeter."
Wainwright will have faced another 779 players in his career before Jeter, the future Hall of Fame shortstop. In fact, the Yankees are one of just two teams -- the Orioles are the other -- that Wainwright has never faced.
The Yankees did visit St. Louis in May, marking the only Interleague series between the two clubs since Wainwright began his Major League career in 2005. But Wainwright's spot in the rotation did not come up during that series, something Wainwright called "one of his biggest regrets."
Wainwright got a signed Jeter jersey as a memento then. Now, he'll trump it with a memory.
"That's pretty neat," Wainwright said, before adding, "but I've got to get him out. Because that would be cooler."
Neshek cherishing first trip to All-Star Game
MINNEAPOLIS -- So much about this All-Star Game leaves Cardinals reliever Pat Neshek on the verge of being overcome by emotion, something he had to fight back numerous times during a 45-minute media session on Monday.
There's the fact that it is his first and that he is the rare setup man to earn a spot on the National League roster. The timing is also opportune, as this All-Star Game is set to be played in Neshek's childhood backyard. His Major League career began here, yes, but also his childhood aspirations to be a big league player many years before.
And then there is the opportunity to share an All-Star field with his brother.
Paul Neshek, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Monday, will also spend the All-Star Game in the Target Field bullpen on Tuesday. As a member of the Twins' grounds crew team, it will be his task to prepare the mound on which older brother Pat hopes to warm up.
"It means a lot," Pat Neshek said. "It's just special. He's amped up for it and said he's going to make our [mound] a little better. I'm not sure how much you can mess that up."
Pat and Paul, separated by about two years in age, grew up playing baseball together in the Minneapolis area. Paul was a member of the Brooklyn Center (Minn.) Little League team that advanced to the Little League World Series in 1994. Pat described that as a highlight of his own youth, too, one that he said "gave me a push to want to play more baseball."
While Pat went on to play baseball at the college and pro level, Paul found himself drawn more to hockey. But he beat his older brother to the Majors by two years when he joined the Twins grounds crew in 2004.
He remained on the grounds crew through the 2010 season, then spent some time as a ball boy and worked his way back to the field team this season. Part of his motivation in doing so was knowing that Target Field would host the All-Star Game. Paul Neshek hardly could have anticipated that Pat, a sidearm-throwing setup man who only had two Minor League job offers over the winter, would be involved as a participant.
"I don't think anyone out there is going to appreciate it as much as me," Pat Neshek said. "This is just so special for us."
Neshek's voice cracked, after which he insisted he's not typically the emotional type.
"That just shows how much it means. It hits home for me," Neshek said. "With the Twins and the fans, and my brother, and where it all started, I don't think I would be like this at all if it was in Texas or California."
Carpenter flexible about position on NL team
MINNEAPOLIS -- Matt Carpenter may have earned a spot on the National League roster as a third baseman, but the second-time Cardinals All-Star is prepared for the possibility of playing one of five possible positions in Tuesday's contest at Target Field.
Carpenter, like Pittsburgh's Josh Harrison, used his defensive versatility to boost his All-Star candidacy. Carpenter said he brought just one glove, but he is prepared to borrow another if he ends up needing to play in the outfield. Harrison will have him covered, as the Pirates utility man said he packed four gloves -- two outfield and two infield ones.
"Certainly, I have the option to play anywhere, and I'll be ready to go," Carpenter said from a dais at the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency on Monday. "I think it helped me get on this team. When you get into a game where guys are coming off the bench and going to different spots, the versatility helps."
Carpenter, who made an All-Star roster as a second baseman in 2013, said he is also more prepared to soak up the experience this time around. Last year, it was all about logistics, making sure he was everywhere he needed to be on time. This time, it's about savoring it all.
"Last year, coming to this kind of thing was overwhelming," Carpenter said. "I felt like last year it was over before I could blink an eye. This time it's really a feather in the cap type feeling. Anytime you get selected, it's an honor. But to get selected for a second time, it's special."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.