Four Red Sox, three Cubs to start in 2008 All-Star Game
A charmed season for the Cubs got even better Sunday when they put a team-record seven players on the NL roster. The World Series champion Red Sox also will send seven to Yankee Stadium on July 15.
"They love me everywhere, what can I tell you?" Ramirez said. "That's why I'm here. I guess I'm not stealing money."
"Picking the All-Star team, it's normally based on individual performance," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "You can look at our group, individually we don't necessarily stand out, and that's OK. As a team, we totally stand out."
The Yankees will be well represented, too, on a night showcasing Hall of Famers and a famed ballpark in its final year. Rodriguez will be joined by Yankees captain Derek Jeter and closer Mariano Rivera.
There was only one change in the last week of fan voting for starters -- Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun overtook Ken Griffey Jr. in the NL outfield. Griffey finished fourth and was left off the team.
Rodriguez was the top overall vote-getter for the second straight year at 3,934,518 and became a 12-time All-Star, as did Ramirez. Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley led the NL voting with 3,889,602.
2008 All-Star Starters
Starters for the American and National League teams as voted by fans for the 2008 All-Star Game to be played at Yankee Stadium on July 15.
|1B||Kevin Youkilis||Red Sox|
|2B||Dustin Pedroia||Red Sox|
|OF||Manny Ramirez||Red Sox|
|DH||David Ortiz*||Red Sox|
|*injured, will be replaced by the Rangers' Milton Bradley.|
|*to be selected by NL manager Clint Hurdle.|
The 1958 Yankees hold the record with nine players in an All-Star Game. The Cubs and Red Sox came close when these rosters were announced -- Internet voting this week will determine the 32nd player on each team.
"To be able to represent the Red Sox with that number of Red Sox will be very exciting," AL manager Terry Francona of Boston said. "I'm very proud of that."
Outfielders Kosuke Fukudome and Soriano and rookie catcher Geovany Soto were chosen to start for the Cubs, who own the best record in the National League. Soriano has been out with a broken left hand, but may return in time to play.
"It's flattering," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "We've played well the first half and these guys that are going are, in a way, largely responsible. We have a few others but these guys have all done their jobs and done them well, and they're being rewarded."
The Cubs, trying to win their first World Series in 100 years, put six players into the All-Star Game in 1988 and 1936.
"Obviously all seven guys have good enough numbers to be there," Zambrano said. "I was kind of like 50-50. I was planning to make a flight to Venezuela, but now I have to change it."
Most All-Stars By Team
The Cubs and Red Sox each have seven players selected for the 2008 NL and AL All-Star teams.
Ramirez, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox were elected by fans. Ortiz is on the disabled list with an injured wrist but will attend; Francona said Texas' Milton Bradley would become the designated hitter.
"Definitely be more comfortable," Pedroia said. "That's the biggest thing because a lot of the guys I don't know."
The AL starting lineup: Youkilis at first base, Pedroia at second base, Jeter at shortstop, Rodriguez at third base, outfielders Josh Hamilton of Texas, Ichiro Suzuki of Seattle and Ramirez, and Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer.
Starting for the NL: Houston first baseman Lance Berkman, Utley at second base, Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez and Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones, with Soriano, Fukudome and Braun in the outfield. Soto will become the first rookie catcher to start for the NL.
Pitchers Joe Saunders of the Angels and Cliff Lee of Cleveland were among 14 first-time AL stars. Colorado pitcher Aaron Cook and San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez were among the NL's 11 newcomers.
"Every year there are guys who make it that people question and there are guys that probably have the numbers that don't make it," Lowell said.
Once again, the league that wins the All-Star Game will get home-field advantage in the World Series.
The AL has not lost an All-Star Game since 1996 at Veterans Stadium. Since then, the AL has won 10 and tied one. Overall, the NL leads 40-36-2.
"It's more than just an All-Star Game, it's like a celebration of Yankee Stadium," Jeter said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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