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Archive for Monday, July 2, 2007

Giants’ slugger voted in by fans

San Francisco’s Bonds touched by gesture, geared to play in home park

July 2, 2007

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— Barry Bonds is as much a fixture in San Francisco as cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge, and he'll be in his usual spot in left field when the All-Star game comes to his home ballpark.

The Giants star overcame a 119,000-vote deficit in the final days of balloting and finished 123,000 ahead of the Chicago Cubs' Alfonso Soriano on Sunday to claim the third and final starting outfield spot for the National League.

"I'm at a loss for words right now," Bonds said. "It just means more 'cause I'm at home. This is my town. This is my house. You can't say enough about being at home. It's great."

At 42, Bonds will be the oldest player to start an All-Star game. He tops Roger Clemens, who was 41 years, 11 months at the 2004 game in Houston, his hometown.

Bonds, heading to his 14th All-Star game and 12th as a starter, was the lone Giants player chosen for the July 10 game in San Francisco - his first trip since 2004.

"One guy will be a lot bigger than everybody else. It's his hometown," said Cincinnati's Ken Griffey Jr., the top NL vote-getter.

With the game in his home park, Bonds figures to be the focus all week. He could be one of the sluggers picked to participate in Monday night's Home Run Derby.

"I don't think so. I don't have anything to prove in that," Bonds said.

The Boston Red Sox and AL champion Detroit Tigers led all teams with five players selected. Boston is sending first baseman David Ortiz, third baseman Mike Lowell, outfielder Manny Ramirez and pitchers Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon.

Detroit had three players elected to start for the first time since 1983 (second baseman Placido Polanco, outfielder Magglio Ordonez and catcher Ivan Rodriguez).

Detroit's Justin Verlander, who pitched a no-hitter this season, was picked for the AL staff, and shortstop Carlos Guillen is a reserve.

The New York Mets (center fielder Carlos Beltran, shortstop Jose Reyes, closer Billy Wagner and third baseman David Wright) tied the Milwaukee Brewers (closer Francisco Cordero, first baseman Prince Fielder, shortstop J.J. Hardy and pitcher Ben Sheets) for the most players picked in the NL.

Alex Rodriguez, with 3.89 million votes, led fan voting for the first time. Griffey jumped past Beltran in the final days and topped the NL with 2.99 million votes.

The rest of the AL starting lineup has the Yankees' Derek Jeter at shortstop, A-Rod at third, and the Los Angeles Angels' Vladimir Guerrero and Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki in the outfield.

Fielder and Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin were elected as first-time All-Stars in the NL. Philadelphia's Chase Utley topped voting at second base.

The top write-in vote totals were for Detroit's Curtis Granderson (376,000) and Cincinnati's Josh Hamilton (151,000).

Kansas City's only selection was pitcher Gil Meche. Some of the snubs included NL MVP Ryan Howard of the Phillies, Atlanta shortstop Edgar Renteria and New York Mets pitcher John Maine. Granderson and Gary Sheffield missed out in the AL.

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