Rollins to replace Izturis

WASHINGTON -- Pedro Martinez pulled out of the All-Star Game on Thursday, saying he wouldn't be able to take the mound in the exhibition because he'll start for the New York Mets two days earlier.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who will lead the NL team in Tuesday's All-Star Game at Detroit, was informed of Martinez's decision Thursday morning, Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz

Philadelphia Phillies closer Billy Wagner will fill Martinez's spot, and shortstop Jimmy Rollins was added to the National League All-Star roster as a replacement for Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Cesar Izturis.

Izturis went on the disabled list Tuesday with a sore right hamstring.

Martinez is scheduled to start Sunday at the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Mets right-hander is 9-3 with a 2.80 ERA and leads the National League with 129 strikeouts. He finished third among NL pitchers in player voting.

"To be honest, I want to play. I wanted to go because it's my
first year with the Mets," Martinez said after New York's 3-2
victory over Washington on Thursday.

"I would love to go if I would get at least one more day of
rest. With just one day in between games, I can't pitch like it's a
regular game. I don't want to hurt myself up there. I would like to
compete, but if not, let somebody else go get the opportunity."

The Mets right-hander is 9-3 with a 2.80 ERA and leads the
National League with 129 strikeouts. He finished third among NL
pitchers in player voting.

Mets manager Willie Randolph and general manager Omar Minaya
said they supported Martinez's choice to skip the All-Star Game.

"That's Pedro's decision," Randolph said. "That's just the
way it is."

With the additions, the Phillies have three All-Stars for the first time since 2002, when Rollins, Scott Rolen and Vicente Padilla were on the NL team. Bobby Abreu was elected to start in the NL outfield this year.

Wagner was one of five pitchers on the Internet fan ballot for
the final spot on the NL team, but was beaten out by former Astros
teammate Roy Oswalt. Wagner was disappointed initially because it
meant baseball-obsessed sons Bill, 6, and Jeremy, 4, couldn't go to
the game with him.

But when Phillies general manager Ed Wade called his Pittsburgh
hotel room Thursday morning to give him the news, Wagner first
thought he was being traded.

"I said, 'Geez, Ed, you scared my wife to death,'" Wagner
said. "It was one of those things where you go, 'What's going on
This will be Wagner's fourth All-Star Game, but his first since
2001 and his first with the Phillies. He wasn't chosen in 2002 and
2003 despite having a combined 77 saves.

"It's an honor to go with more than one team," said Wagner,
who was with Houston during his previous All-Star appearances. "To
be put there with Robin Roberts and some of the greats in Philly is
something I thought about. ... That's why I play -- to go to
All-Star Game, World Series and the Hall of Fame. I don't play just
to play the game."

The day before, Wagner said Oswalt deserved to go ahead of him,
but the Phillies closer wasn't about to turn down the spot.

"You're sitting in a clubhouse with guys who are the best in
the world -- and you're sitting there and are a part of it," Wagner
said. "It's fun to be associated with it."

Rollins' first thought after learning he's going to his third
All-Star Game: He hopes Abreu has room for one more on the private
plane he is taking to Detroit. This will be Rollins' first All-Star
Game since being elected an NL starter in 2002.

This time, Rollins didn't finish in the top five in the fan

"If I hadn't made the team, I was already content with that,"
he said. "It was like 'Man, I couldn't even crack the top five in
voting, that's messed up.' But, hey, the coaches and players had me
second on their list and that's really more important, that the
people you play among recognize that you're a good player and put
you in as one of the top shortstops."

Rollins, batting .268 with seven homers and 23 RBI, was out of
the lineup for a second consecutive game Thursday with a sore hand,
but expects to play Friday against Washington.