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All-Star Game likely Yankees fest

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 30, 2002

The world will learn, via ESPN's gimmicky All-Star selection show this evening, just how many Yankees players will participate in the game on July 9.

Twenty-nine of the 30 players on each All-Star team will be named, but fans have the unique chance to right a wrong and choose the 30th for each team. Fans will have two days to vote on MLB.com, and selections will be announced Tuesday. Eight Yankees were enough for Joe Torre, Yankees and American League manager, in last season's All-Star Game. And if everything shakes out as many expect he could have as many as seven in the AL dugout at Miller Park.

First baseman Jason Giambi, second baseman Alfonso Soriano and catcher Jorge Posada led their respective positions in fan balloting released last week.

If voting remains consistent, it would be up to Torre to decide if third baseman Robin Ventura, shortstop Derek Jeter, outfielder Bernie Williams and pitchers Mike Mussina, Roger Clemens and Mariano Rivera will be reserves.

"If all else is equal, I'll take my player," Torre said. "But if you're going to take your players, make sure they stand up to the other players out there.

"I have no problems taking my own players if they are deserving. It didn't bother me (last season) because the guys I picked were all all-stars."

SHOULDER TO CRY ON: Phil Nevin has been asked twice in the past four months to help soothe the heartache of two deaths.

The Padres infielder drove to the home of Mike Darr in February to be with the Darr's wife after the outfielder was killed in an car crash at spring training. On June 22, Nevin drove to Darryl Kile's house to console Kile's wife, Flynn, after the Cardinals' pitcher was found dead in a Chicago hotel room.

It doesn't end there.

After escorting Kile's widow and her father to the airport, Nevin attended a charity event to benefit Darr's widow and children. While there he learned Darr's father coached Kile in high school.

"I'm starting to believe more and more that things happen for a reason," Nevin said.

SOMETHING'S UP: The players and manager are avoiding the topic, but it's clear the Reds have been a better team without Ken Griffey in the starting lineup.

Through Friday, Cincinnati was 33-21 without the ailing centerfielder and 9-16 with him.

"Who knows the total reason," first baseman Sean Casey said. "It is almost spooky. Who wouldn't want Griffey in the three-hole every day? Maybe because we know when he isn't in there we can't rely on him hitting a three-run or four-run homer, we can't count on him getting us that one big hit and we all endeavor to do a little more."

SENSE OF PRIDE: Though he fell short of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo made one Hall of Famer proud for surpassing Benito Santiago's record for a hitting streak by a Latin American major-leaguer. Castillo's streak of 35 consecutive games with a hit ended June 22. "Sometimes we don't get the recognition we should in major-league baseball," Orlando Cepeda said. "For many years we've had great players coming here, and so many great American players have played winter ball, so it means a lot to the people."

THE LEMON LAW: Braves pitcher Albie Lopez, the former Rays starter, got a spot start against the Mets on Monday and gave up seven runs on eight hits in four innings. The right-hander, whom the Braves signed as a free agent during the offseason for $4-million, has a 9-23 record in 37 starts over the past two seasons for the Rays, Diamondbacks and Braves. He was put on the disabled list Thursday with tendinitis in his right shoulder.

ODDS AND ENDS: Expos manager Frank Robinson will coach in his first All-Star Game in 26 years. Selected by Arizona's Bob Brenly on Thursday, Robinson was a coach for the 1976 game. ... The Pirates enjoyed rain-free baseball for seven consecutive home games until Thursday. Entering Saturday's game they've had 14 rain delays at home. ... Philadelphia general manager Ed Wade reportedly is shopping third baseman Scott Rolen, first baseman Travis Lee and pitchers Robert Person, Terry Adams and Dan Plesac. ... Gary Baggott, a security guard stationed in the Twins bullpen Monday, was ejected for waving a pair of glasses at third base umpire Joe West.

THE LAST WORD: "Nobody could hit a golf ball farther than Darryl. We'd smash drivers down the middle, and Darryl would fly one 30 yards past our best. He then would pretend he had a camera and click the shutter. His big joke was that his ball was taking aerial photos of ours as it flew over. Darryl, I know you're taking aerial photos of us now. Look at those pictures. They are those of your family. We love you and we miss you." -- Pete Harnisch, a teammate of Kile's while with the Astros.

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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