On day Padres' Young becomes All-Star, pitcher decides to start suspension
SAN DIEGO -- What a day it was for Chris Young, who began a five-game suspension for his part in a brawl, then found out about three hours later that he was an All-Star.
The San Diego Padres' right-hander beat out four other pitchers for the last spot on the NL All-Star team on Thursday in the online Final Vote, which started Sunday night. The 6-foot-10 Young will join teammates Jake Peavy and Trevor Hoffman at Tuesday night's game in San Francisco.
The Padres organization, including Hoffman and Peavy, heavily promoted the online voting that made Young an All-Star for the first time.
"Obviously I don't want to be serving a suspension," Young said. "I don't want to take away from my team. But all in all, I think it's a good day, for the most part. I wish we had won our game."
Because he can't be in the dugout or clubhouse during a game, Young (8-3, 2.00 ERA), watched from the press box as Peavy and the Padres lost 3-2 to the Florida Marlins.
Young had been appealing his suspension for his part in a bench-clearing brawl at Chicago on June 16, which started when Young hit the Cubs' Derrek Lee with a pitch.
Lee, convinced that Young was throwing at him on purpose, had words with the pitcher as he walked to first base, then threw a punch. Young swung back and the benches emptied.
Young will sit out the last four games before the break and the first game after it.
He made his final start before the break on Wednesday night, striking out nine and holding the Marlins to five hits in seven innings of a 1-0 win. He didn't get the decision, but lowered his ERA to 2.00, tying Brad Penny of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best in the majors.
Hoffman and Peavy were the unofficial campaign managers for Young. The franchise pitched it by promoting the vote, even setting up computers on the concourse at Petco Park so fans could vote.
Hoffman, baseball's all-time saves leader with 506, said he's pretty much computer-illiterate, but was able to vote 50 to 75 times for his teammate.
"It's not an easy process for me," Hoffman said.
"I think it would have been different had C.Y. maybe been a borderline nominee," Hoffman said. "The fact that his numbers stand up against anybody's in the National League warrant him going. I think this sends, really, a stronger message than anybody could say in publicly rallying for him."
Peavy said Young was a better pitcher in the season's first half than the players he beat out -- Chicago's Carlos Zambrano, Arizona's Brandon Webb, Pittsburgh's Tom Gorzelanny and Houston's Roy Oswalt, who was named to replace injured Atlanta pitcher John Smoltz.
"I thought it was big for the city to get behind him," Peavy said. "The whole city should give themselves a pat on the back because we beat out some pretty big-market teams. I know we went hard at it and campaigned hard for him and it was well deserved. I'm proud that this city is going to have another representative with that Padre jersey on."
Young received more than 4.5 million votes. His winning margin wasn't immediately available.
Young said he didn't vote for himself because he didn't want to get distracted. He also was on the ballot last year, when he said he did vote a few times for himself.
"This year I really tried to block it out and not worry about it," Young said. "I think Trevor and Jake took it upon themselves to just be active and really reach out and be vocal about it. That just means so much to me.
"It might be even greater that just being elected without all this," he said. "It's been really special.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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