Mets, ChiSox lead way as All-Star rosters revealed

Updated: July 3, 2006, 12:25 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The Chicago White Sox and New York Mets filled up the All-Star rosters, earning six selections each when the teams were announced Sunday.

Often viewed as second-class citizens in their own cities, the World Series champion White Sox and NL East-leading Mets will be well represented on July 11 in Pittsburgh.

Setting All-Star Rosters Straight
The game might not hold his interest, but the All-Star selection process -- with its bizarre, sometimes aggravating choices -- certainly earned Keith Law's attention. After reviewing the rosters, Law has eight substitutions he'd like to make.

To read Law's All-Star roster fixes, click here. Insider

For complete coverage, visit ESPN.com's 2006 All-Star Index.

The Mets had four starters elected by fans, including third baseman David Wright and shortstop Jose Reyes -- each 23 and chosen for the first time. They will be joined in the lineup by catcher Paul Lo Duca and outfielder Carlos Beltran. Starting pitchers Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez also made it.

"It's going to feel like I'm playing with the New York Mets," Reyes said. "It's a great feeling for me and everybody."

Another Mets pitcher could be added, too -- closer Billy Wagner is one of five candidates for the final NL spot in Internet balloting.

The White Sox won't have any starters, unless pitcher Jose Contreras is picked by his manager, Ozzie Guillen, to start the game. But they'll have plenty of players on the bench: slugger Jim Thome, first baseman Paul Konerko, outfielder Jermaine Dye, lefty Mark Buehrle and closer Bobby Jenks all made it along with Contreras.

Chicago also could have a seventh player added in Internet balloting, catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

"It's neat when you can have that many guys go," said Thome, a designated hitter picked as a backup first baseman. "It says a lot about your ballclub."

For the fourth straight season, the winner of the All-Star Game will get home-field advantage in the World Series -- so all those Mets and White Sox could be playing for something important come October.

Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez was selected to start at catcher for the 11th time. He is now a 13-time All-Star, the most of any active player.

He edged Minnesota's Joe Mauer in fan balloting by fewer than 17,000 votes. The 23-year-old Mauer, who leads the majors with a .392 batting average, made it as a reserve.

"Every time I go there, it's like the first time," said Rodriguez, whose 11 starts tie him with Mike Piazza for the most among catchers.

Twenty-three players will be going for the first time, among them Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley, elected by fans to start.

St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols was the leading vote-getter among fans, chosen on more than 3.4 million ballots. It will be his third start.

As always, there were some notable snubs, including Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Nomar Garciaparra, Boston pitcher Curt Schilling and Yankees ace Mike Mussina. Garciaparra, however, could be added through Internet balloting this week.

Some of baseball's biggest names will be missing, including Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Piazza, Ken Griffey Jr. and Randy Johnson.

"Whoever doesn't like it, play better next year and pick another manager," Guillen said.

The four starters for the Mets equals the number Boston had last year. The Red Sox were the first team with four starters since the 1976 Cincinnati Reds had five, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The six All-Stars were also the most in franchise history for New York. Also elected by fans to start for the National League were outfielders Jason Bay of host Pittsburgh and Alfonso Soriano of Washington.

On the American League side, the fans didn't provide many surprises. Seven of the eight starters have started previously, with Boston second baseman Mark Loretta the only first-timer.

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will be making his seventh appearance, though it's only the second time he's been voted in as a starter. New York third baseman Alex Rodriguez is on the team for the 10th time, and this will be his ninth start.

The left side of both infields will be all players from the Big Apple.

"I can recall my first All-Star Game; it was an event and a day I'll never forget. Playing alongside my childhood idol in Cal Ripken," Rodriguez said. "I was so darn nervous walking into that clubhouse. Now you come in as the elder, and kids like Mauer and [Robinson] Cano and Reyes and Wright [are there] for the first time, and you get equal satisfaction seeing them."

Boston's David Ortiz, picked as the starting designated hitter last year, will get the start at first base. Teammate Manny Ramirez, the AL's leading vote-getter with more than 3.1 million, is on the team for the 10th time and was selected as a starter in the outfield for the eighth time. He'll be joined by Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels and Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki.

The Oakland Athletics, in first place in the AL West, had just one All-Star in pitcher Barry Zito. Emerging outfielder Nick Swisher was left off.

San Diego, on top in the NL West, was represented only by reliever Trevor Hoffman.

Some backups were selected via the player ballot, others by Guillen and NL manager Phil Garner of Houston in conjunction with the commissioner's office.

The other AL reserves were Toronto third baseman Troy Glaus, Texas shortstop Michael Young, Cleveland outfielder Grady Sizemore, Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada and Blue Jays outfielder Vernon Wells.

Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and Toronto outfielder Alex Rios, each picked as a reserve, are injured and will be replaced by Seattle's Jose Lopez and Texas' Gary Matthews Jr., respectively.

The AL pitching staff includes starters Roy Halladay of Toronto, Minnesota ace Johan Santana, Kenny Rogers of Detroit, Scott Kazmir of Tampa Bay and Mark Redman of Kansas City. The relievers are Boston rookie Jonathan Papelbon, Toronto closer B.J. Ryan and Mariano Rivera of the Yankees.

Also selected as NL reserves were Atlanta catcher Brian McCann, shortstop Edgar Renteria and outfielder Andruw Jones; first baseman Ryan Howard of Philadelphia; Florida second baseman Dan Uggla and third baseman Miguel Cabrera; Colorado outfielder Matt Holliday; outfielder Carlos Lee of Milwaukee; St. Louis third baseman Scott Rolen; Houston first baseman Lance Berkman; and Pittsburgh third baseman Freddy Sanchez.

The NL pitching staff includes starters Brandon Webb of Arizona, Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo, Chris Carpenter of St. Louis, Brad Penny of Los Angeles, Jason Schmidt of San Francisco and Chicago's Carlos Zambrano. The relievers include Tom Gordon of Philadelphia, Milwaukee's Derrick Turnbow and Colorado's Brian Fuentes.

Fans will have the chance to pick one more player for each team through Internet balloting. The five choices for the NL are Wagner, Garciaparra, Philadelphia outfielder Bobby Abreu, San Diego starting pitcher Chris Young and Milwaukee left-hander Chris Capuano.

The AL candidates are Pierzynski, rookie pitchers Justin Verlander of Detroit and Francisco Liriano of Minnesota, Cleveland slugger Travis Hafner and Baltimore catcher Ramon Hernandez.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press