Francona chooses Buehrle; La Russa tabs Carpenter

Updated: July 12, 2005, 12:59 AM ET
Associated Press

DEARBORN, Mich. -- Tony La Russa found his All-Star starter on his own pitching staff.

Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals will get the ball for the National League on Tuesday night at Detroit's Comerica Park, capping a successful comeback from right shoulder surgery. His AL opponent on the mound will be Chicago White Sox lefty Mark Buehrle.

Released by Toronto in 2002 after his operation, Carpenter missed the 2003 season before winning 15 games for the NL champions last year. He's got 13 victories already this season, tied for most in the major leagues and a true testament to perseverance.

"You dream to get an opportunity to play in an All-Star Game, never mind starting one," Carpenter said Monday. "It's just an honor."

La Russa will start four of his Cardinals players, the same number as the Boston Red Sox, their World Series opponents last October.

Carpenter (13-4) should be fresh -- he hasn't pitched since last Wednesday. He was chosen over Florida's Dontrelle Willis (13-4) and Houston ace Roger Clemens (1.48 ERA).

"It says a lot when you consider the guys we considered. I had a lot of input from around the league," La Russa said.

American League manager Terry Francona selected Buehrle (10-3) to start over his Chicago teammate, Jon Garland (13-4). Toronto's Roy Halladay (12-4), who leads the league with a 2.41 ERA, might have gotten the nod if his left leg hadn't been broken by a line drive on Friday.

"Mark and Roy Halladay were our two top considerations," Francona said. "When Roy backed out for obvious reasons with the injury, Mark was our clear choice to be our starter."

Buehrle will be pitching on two days' rest.

"I bounce back pretty quick," he said, adding that he should be available for one or two innings.

The first batter to face Buehrle will be Philadelphia right fielder Bobby Abreu. Carlos Beltran of the New York Mets bats second and moves to left field from his regular spot in center.

Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols will be the designated hitter and bat third, followed by Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, St. Louis center fielder Jim Edmonds, Chicago third baseman Aramis Ramirez, Mets catcher Mike Piazza, Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent and Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein.

Ramirez is starting in place of St. Louis' Scott Rolen, who pulled out of the game to rest his troublesome right shoulder.

Three of the first four AL batters are Red Sox.

Center fielder Johnny Damon leads off, followed by Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, Boston DH David Ortiz, Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez, Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada, Angels right fielder Vladimir Guerrero, Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira, Boston catcher Jason Varitek and Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts.

"That should be a lineup even I can't screw up," Francona said. "We have Brian Roberts hitting ninth. He's probably going to be an MVP candidate."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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