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Archive for Monday, July 1, 2002

Major League All-Star Game: Yanks, D’backs dominate squads

July 1, 2002

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— Bob Brenly and Joe Torre rewarded their own, each taking six players from their teams to the All-Star game.

Brenly picked six of the World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks to come with him to Milwaukee for the All-Star game July 9. Three members of the AL champion New York Yankees were voted onto the team and Torre selected three more as reserves.

Torre was criticized last season for selecting seven Yankees. This year, first baseman Jason Giambi, catcher Jorge Posada and second baseman Alfonso Soriano were voted on by the fans, and Torre picked closer Mariano Rivera, shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Robin Ventura.

"My players are qualified to go to the All-Star game, not just because I pick them," said Torre, managing the game for the fifth time.

Brenly, a first-time All-Star manager, took starting pitchers Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson, outfielder Luis Gonzalez and three first-timers: closer Byung-Hyun Kim, second baseman Junior Spivey and catcher Damian Miller.

Some of Brenly's players thought infielder Craig Counsell should have gone, too.

Boston was the only other team with more than three All-Stars. Outfielder Manny Ramirez and third baseman Shea Hillenbrand were voted on, and pitchers Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe, and shortstop Nomar Garciaparra are reserves.

The other AL starters are Texas shortstop Alex Rodriguez and outfielders Ichiro Suzuki of Seattle and Torii Hunter of Minnesota.

The NL starters are New York catcher Mike Piazza; Colorado first baseman Todd Helton; Montreal second baseman Jose Vidro and outfielder Vladimir Guerrero; shortstop Jimmy Rollins and third baseman Scott Rolen of Philadelphia; and outfielders Barry Bonds of San Francisco and Sammy Sosa of Chicago.

Suzuki was the top vote-getter with 2,516,016 votes. Sosa led the NL with 2,140,315.

There are 25 first-time selections, including four who got voted on by fans: Hillenbrand, Soriano, Hunter and Rolen.

Two notable absences are Mets second baseman Roberto Alomar, who had made the team 12 straight years, and Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who made it 10 consecutive times.

Alomar, hitting just .260, was passed in the voting in the final week by Vidro.

"I think Vidro deserved to be the No. 1 guy," Alomar said.

Rodriguez missed nearly two months with an injured back and finished fewer than 19,000 votes behind Posada. Rodriguez started the last nine All-Star games, tying Johnny Bench's record for catchers.

Torre dodged a difficult decision of which of the many talented AL shortstops to take by bringing five to Milwaukee. Backing up Rodriguez will be Jeter, Garciaparra, Cleveland's Omar Vizquel and Oakland's Miguel Tejada.

One of those players might be forced to play second base, because Soriano has no backup.

The Yanks became the second AL team to have All-Stars at all five infield positions, joining the 1954 White Sox.

Brenly took five closers: Kim, Atlanta's John Smoltz, San Diego's Trevor Hoffman, and first-timers Mike Williams of Pittsburgh and Eric Gagne of Los Angeles.

Despite having the worst record in the NL, the Brewers will have two All-Stars for the hometown fans to cheer Milwaukee infielders Richie Sexson and Jose Hernandez.

There is still one spot open on each team to be determined by fan voting on the Internet in the next two days at MLB.com and ESPN.com. Each manager picked five players for fans to choose from.

Cleveland's Jim Thome, Oakland's Eric Chavez, Boston's Johnny Damon, Anaheim's Darin Erstad and Chicago's Magglio Ordonez are in the running for the AL spot.

St. Louis' Albert Pujols, San Diego's Ryan Klesko, Colorado's Larry Walker, Pittsburgh's Brian Giles and Atlanta's Andruw Jones are in the running for the NL spot.

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