Tribe has 2 starting All-Stars, first since '68

Updated: July 10, 2004, 6:13 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Indians right-hander Jake Westbrook was added to the American League All-Star team Saturday, replacing Boston's Curt Schilling.

Westbrook was invited because he was next on the list of voting by players, coaches and managers. Pedro Martinez was first invited to replace Schilling, who wants to rest a deep bone bruise in his right ankle, but declined.

"That really means a lot to me," said Westbrook (6-4), who ranks fourth in the AL with a 3.21 ERA and is tied for third with two complete games.

"It's definitely an honor and I am really, really excited."

Westbrook began this season in the bullpen, but got a chance in the starting rotation shortly after pitching seven perfect innings in relief April 19 against Detroit -- retiring all 21 Tigers he faced and striking out seven.

"That game gave me the confidence I needed," Westbrook said. The 26-year-old acknowledged that he'll likely be nervous before the game Tuesday night in Houston.

"I feel a little nervous right now, jittery," he said. "I mean, it's the All-Star game."

The selection caused a change in the pitcher's plans.

"I was supposed to go to my grandparents' house for dinner Monday night," Westbrook said. "I told my grandma I had to cancel the plans and she was a little disappointed. Then I told her I was going to the All-Star game and she was excited."

AL manager Joe Torre of the Yankees is familiar with Westbrook, who was traded to Cleveland in the July 2000 deal that brought outfielder David Justice to New York.

"I remember him sitting on my couch in spring training," Torre said. "He was excited just to start a spring training game. He's come a long way since then.

"He's had some physical problems, up and down from the minors. Now all of a sudden, he's invited to go to the All-Star game. It's great."

Westbrook had surgery on his right elbow in March 2001 and was sidelined until mid-July. He also spent time on the disabled list in 2002 with inflammation in his elbow.

"Jake's a battler," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He's very deserving of being an all-star. I'm proud of him and happy for him."

The addition makes Cleveland the first sub-.500 club with five All-Stars since the 1995 Los Angeles Dodgers and first in the AL since the 1972 Kansas City Royals.

Along with left-hander C.C. Sabathia, Westbrook gives the Indians two starting pitchers in an All-Star game for the first time since Luis Tiant and lefty Sam McDowell in 1968.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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