Beltran first to switch sides for Midsummer Classic

Updated: July 12, 2004, 2:09 AM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Carlos Beltran switched All-Star teams Sunday.

Voted to the AL squad by fellow players before being traded from Kansas City to Houston, the center fielder was picked for the NL roster to fill the opening created when Ken Griffey Jr. was hurt Saturday night.

Beltran became the first player to be chosen for one All-Star team and wind up on the other side, the commissioner's office said.

It will be a neat homecoming, of sorts, for Beltran in his first All-Star game. The game will be played at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Tuesday night.

"I deserve to be there. They should do something and come up with a better rule," Beltran said before Sunday's game at Los Angeles. "Even though I was selected to be an All-Star, I wasn't 100 percent happy. Now I'm 100 percent happy."

Beltran already had earned a $50,000 bonus from his contract for becoming an All-Star.

Beltran homered in Sunday's 7-4 loss to the Dodgers. He is hitting .263 with six home runs and 12 RBIs in 57 at-bats for the Astros.

He batted .278 with 15 homers, 51 RBIs and 14 stolen bases for the Royals before the three-team trade that sent him to Houston.

Arizona's Steve Finley also was considered for the fill-in spot after Griffey was injured.

Griffey tore his right hamstring in Milwaukee and was put on the 15-day disabled list. He was injured chasing Brady Clark's drive in the Reds' 5-0 loss.

Beltran was chosen by AL players, managers and coaches in voting released July 4. He got the most votes among AL outfielders behind the elected starters -- Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez and Ichiro Suzuki.

After the deal, Major League Baseball said Beltran was considered an All-Star and could participate in the festivities, but could not be put on the NL team because of the AL vote.

"It's great. It's my first one," he said. "I have a chance to be in the game. It all depends on the manager, because he'll pick his players, but I have a chance. Maybe I'll have an at-bat."

The NL roster includes extra outfielders Lance Berkman of Houston, Bobby Abreu of Philadelphia, Moises Alou of Chicago and Miguel Cabrera of Florida.

Beltran joined Astros teammates Roger Clemens, Jeff Kent and Berkman on the NL side.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press