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Archive for Monday, July 10, 2000

All-Star dropouts ‘disappointing’

July 10, 2000

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— The best place to find baseball's top All-Stars this week is the trainer's room.

Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Cal Ripken Mike Piazza and Greg Maddux became the latest casualties Sunday.

Mark McGwire, Pedro Martinez, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez already were scratched from Tuesday night's game at Turner Field because of injuries.

All of a sudden, a list of the dropouts seems more imposing than anything the AL and NL actually will trot out.

"We were looking at who we could've had if everybody was healthy and it looked like it could've been one of the best All-Star lineups of all-time," said Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones, a starter. "It's disappointing."

So much for a power-packed, middle of the order for the NL minus starters McGwire, Bonds and Griffey, the top three home run hitters in the league.

It was announced Sunday night that Piazza would not travel to Atlanta. The Mets catcher sustained a concussion Saturday night when hit in the helmet by Roger Clemens' fastball, and did not play in the series finale against the Yankees.

"I'm a little groggy," Piazza said. "I have a headache, obviously."

With Cleveland second baseman Roberto Alomar also hurting he was hit by a pitch below the right elbow Sunday there's an injured All-Star at every position.

"They've been bugging me for a lineup the last few days," said NL manager Bobby Cox of the Braves, "but I just don't know who I can provide right now."

Cincinnati pitcher Danny Graves, Arizona outfielder Steve Finley, Baltimore shortstop Mike Bordick and Toronto third baseman Tony Batista are among the replacements coming to play.

Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas, still upset that he was left off the American League roster, is not.

"I've got plans and I'm not changing them for nobody," Thomas said before Sunday's game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Injuries and All-Star games are not strangers. Tony Gwynn and Jose Canseco missed last year at Fenway Park and, when the game was previously held in Atlanta in 1972, five players originally picked were absent: Luis Aparicio, Amos Otis, Freddie Patek, Gary Nolan and Joe Coleman.

Piazza's status was in doubt after he sustained a concussion Saturday night when hit in the helmet by Roger Clemens' fastball. The catcher, voted to start, was hospitalized after the beaning in the New York Mets' game at Yankee Stadium.

Griffey will be absent because of a sore right knee. He homered twice and drove in a career-high eight runs Saturday for Cincinnati, and started again Sunday and made a nice running catch in center field against Cleveland.

Griffey will take part in the home run derby Monday in Atlanta, defending the crown he won last summer.

"We think it's in the best interests for the baseball team that he not play, not run the bases, not play the outfield, take the three days off," Reds general manager Jim Bowden said. "We're in a pennant race and he's an important part of this team and it's about winning games."

Ripken's streak of 16 straight All-Star starts will come to an end. The Baltimore third baseman is on the disabled list because of a back injury, but baseball rules would have allowed him to take part Tuesday night.

Bonds missed his eighth straight start Sunday with a hairline fracture on the tip of his right thumb. The San Francisco outfielder struck out as a pinch-hitter Saturday, and reported swelling after the game.

Bonds will make the trip to Turner Field.

"I'm going to honor the fans because they voted me in," Bonds said. "After that, I'll wave good-bye. It's better than sitting at home and doing nothing anyway."

Maddux, one of five Braves on the NL roster, was scratched from his start Sunday at Boston because of a sore right shoulder. He will not attend the festivities.

McGwire leads the majors with 30 home runs, but is out of the St. Louis lineup because of knee tendinitis.

Rodriguez, among the AL leaders in several offensive categories, was knocked out of the game by a concussion. The Seattle shortstop tried to break up a double play Friday night and took a knee to head from Los Angeles shortstop Alex Cora.

Martinez, whose 1.44 ERA is the best in the majors, is out of the Boston rotation with an injured muscle in his side. He is expected to be in uniform in Atlanta, however.

Ramirez, elected to start in the AL outfield, has been on the disabled list for Cleveland since May 30 with a hamstring injury.

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