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Archive for Monday, July 7, 2003

Sosa, Clemens denied

Of 63 players, 29 first-time selections

July 7, 2003

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— Some of baseball's biggest stars aren't All-Stars this year.

Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez missed the cut for the July 15 game in Chicago.

Instead, Hideki Matsui, Albert Pujols and Carlos Delgado were among the new faces picked Sunday by fans.

Twenty-nine of the 63 players were first-time All-Stars, including 40-year-old pitcher Jamie Moyer. It was the most first-timers since 30 were chosen for the 1988 game in Cincinnati.

Also among the first-timers were Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Hank Blalock, Mark Mulder and Vernon Wells.

And the fresh faces aren't the only thing giving the All-Star game a new look. Following last year's messy 7-7, 11-inning tie in Milwaukee, baseball decided to give the league that wins the game home-field advantage in the World Series.

"In the past, the game has been an afterthought," seven-time All-Star Alex Rodriguez said. "A lot of times, by the sixth or seventh inning, the guys were showered, packed up and on their way back home. Hopefully, this year, the fans are going to get a much better game with a lot more intensity."

Players, managers and coaches also had a say in the teams for the first time since 1969, and rosters were expanded from 30 to 32 per league.

Seven players were picked for their first All-Star starts, including Marcus Giles, Troy Glaus, Javy Lopez and Edgar Renteria. Two Boone brothers -- Cincinnati's Aaron and Seattle's Bret -- also were picked for the game.

Sosa, who had been on the last five NL All-Star teams and six overall, was second among NL outfielders in totals released Tuesday with 894,156 votes, trailing Barry Bonds (1,157,384) and ahead of Gary Sheffield (811,239) and Albert Pujols (793,109).

But after the final rush of voting, Pujols led with 2,030,702, followed by Bonds (1,919,116), Sheffield (1,533,278) and Sosa (1,390,355).

"Sometimes when this kind of situation happens, it happens for a reason," Sosa said. "I'm very happy for him. ... I'll be there next year."

Several big names won't be at the game because of injuries -- Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Mike Piazza, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman.

Also not selected were slumping stars -- Derek Jeter, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and reigning AL MVP Miguel Tejada.

Elected to start in the AL were Delgado at first, Alfonso Soriano at second, Rodriguez at shortstop, Glaus at third, Jorge Posada at catcher, Edgar Martinez at designated hitter, and Ichiro Suzuki, Manny Ramirez and Matsui in the outfield.

NL starters are Todd Helton at first, Giles at second, Renteria at shortstop, Scott Rolen at third, Lopez at catcher, and Pujols, Bonds and Sheffield in the outfield. Bonds will be going to his 12th All-Star game, his 10th as an elected starter.

Making the NL team as reserves in the new player vote were Jim Edmonds, Rafael Furcal, Andruw Jones, Paul Lo Duca, Mike Lowell, Richie Sexson, Jose Vidro and Preston Wilson.

Kevin Brown, Shawn Chacon, Prior, Woody Williams and Jason Schmidt were elected as starting pitchers, and John Smoltz, Eric Gagne and Billy Wagner were elected as relievers.

AL players elected reserves were Garret Anderson, Hank Blalock, Bret Boone, Nomar Garciaparra, Ramon Hernandez, Melvin Mora, Mike Sweeney and Wells.

Esteban Loaiza, Roy Halladay, Moyer, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito were elected as AL starting pitchers, and Brendan Donnelly, Keith Foulke and Eddie Guardado were elected as relievers.

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