MINNEAPOLIS -- A's hurler Jeff Samardzija temporarily swapped allegiances during Tuesday's All-Star Game introductions, electing to stand by his former National League peers who got him there in the first place.
Samardzija, traded by the Cubs to Oakland just two days before his NL All-Star selection was announced, donned a generic NL jersey for the ceremony, accompanied by a standard All-Star Game cap, while six of his new A's teammates looked on from the other side.
Soon enough, though, he joined his fellow A's in the American League dugout following a wardrobe change, turning in his NL attire for good in exchange for an A's cap and pullover. He wasn't allowed to participate in the Game for either side because of his unique status.
"I asked for the union's opinion on what they thought I should do, but since this has never happened before, they also didn't have too much to say," said Samardzija. "I just felt like the best thing to do was show my respects to the National League team by doing the workouts with them. I also think it's important I get announced as a National League All-Star, just because that's who I pitched for when I got voted in."
But the right-hander, who has already made a pair of starts in green and gold, had a vesting interest in seeing the American League win and secure home-field advantage in the World Series. The first-place A's exited the break with the Majors' best record at 59-36.
"I want to express my sincerity to the guys who voted me in, because it means a lot to me," he said, "but once the bullets start flying and the game starts, I think it's a pretty obvious decision on who I want to win that game. It makes enough sense who I'll be rooting for.
"It's a crazy situation. I just want to do it in the most professional way possible and not make a big deal of it, and let the guys who are playing enjoy it and try not to be a sideshow."
At the very least, he added, "I don't have to pitch, so my anxiety level is at an all-time low.''
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.