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Archive for Friday, July 6, 2001

Sweeney thrilled by selection

July 6, 2001

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— Mike Sweeney's strong summer just keeps getting better.

Snubbed in the All-Star voting by Major League Baseball fans, the Kansas City Royals' first baseman was chosen by Yankees manager Joe Torre as a reserve for the American League squad.

Sweeney will be the lone Royal in the AL dugout Tuesday night at Seattle's Safeco field, although Kansas City manager Tony Muser was picked by Torre as a coach.

Sweeney is the first Royals player to be named to back-to-back All-Star teams since pitcher Jeff Montgomery in 1992-93.

"I'm just so excited to be going to Seattle and playing with the best of the best of the best," he said.

The selection Wednesday followed what had already been a good week for Sweeney. On Monday, he was named American League player of the week. On Tuesday, he was named AL player of the month for June.

Through Tuesday, Sweeney ranked in the league's top 10 in a host of categories. He was fourth in batting (.342); second in hits (109); sixth in RBIs (64) and home runs (21); seventh in multihit games (29); and first in total bases (207), doubles (35), slugging percentage (.649) and extra-base hits (56).

Sweeney's only regret was that Royals shortstop Rey Sanchez, who was batting .298, won't be in Seattle as well.

"He deserved to go," Sweeney said. "He's played like an All-Star this year but that's the reality of the All-Star selecting process. There are always two or three guys that get snubbed and I think Rey is one of them this year."

Muser said the Royals lobbied hard for Sanchez but Torre took his own shortstop, Derek Jeter, and the Twins' Cristian Guzman as backups for Texas' Alex Rodriguez.

"The word I got is there was a lot of discussion about Rey," Muser said. "I'm glad it wasn't an easy decision. ... He's an All-Star in my book."

This is the second year that Torre picked Sweeney for the All-Star game.

"I went up to him last year and shook his hand and said, 'Mr. Torre, I just want to say thank you for selecting me. It means a whole lot,' " Sweeney recalled of their conversation last year in Atlanta.

"And he said, 'Mike, I didn't even need to think about it. You deserve to be here. I have no reason to take credit for you being here you deserve it all."'

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