Francona OK with whatever Rogers decides
NEW YORK -- AL manager Terry Francona said it's up to Kenny Rogers to decide whether he wants to participate in next week's All-Star Game.
Because the players' association appealed, Rogers cannot be penalized until Selig hears the appeal and makes a decision. A hearing has not yet been scheduled for Rogers, who apologized Wednesday for his actions.
"If he decides to pull out of the All-Star Game, for obvious reasons, that is something I would certainly respect," Francona said Thursday during a telephone conference call. "If he decides to pitch in the All-Star Game, that is something I would also respect. He's earned that right.
"Is it going to bring some attention that's not completely positive attention? Yes, I think that's just stating the obvious. But at the same time, you have to respect what this guy's done and what's he earned."
At the end of his apology, Rogers said he hadn't yet decided whether he would go to Detroit for Tuesday's game.
Francona and NL manager Tony La Russa both said they didn't like that the All-Star Game is being used to decide which team gets home-field advantage in the World Series, a rule that began in 2003.
"I wish they could have the home field decided by the regular-season wins," Francona said. "And if that's the case, St. Louis gets home field last year because of the regular season they had."
Because the AL won last year's All-Star Game, the World Series opened in Boston and the Red Sox won in a four-game sweep for their first title since 1918.
"I don't think that's the way they should decide home field for the World Series," La Russa said.
But he also understood why commissioner Bud Selig pushed for the change.
"For a while the emphasis on the home run contest was more than the game itself, and the game lost a little luster and became kind of an exhibition," La Russa said. "So when they added home field, there's a little edge there."
La Russa regretted not having Houston's Morgan Ensberg on the NL team, and Francona said that if an opening developed on the AL pitching staff, he would fill it with Matt Clement from his own Red Sox staff.
"Derek Jeter, if he's not an All-Star, there's not an All-Star," Francona said. "That may not be the most popular thing for a Red Sox manager to say, but this guy is the way baseball is supposed to be, that's how much respect I have for him."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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