NEW YORK – Bob Brenly and Joe Torre rewarded their own, each taking six players from their teams to the All-Star game.
Brenly picked six of the World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks to come with him to Milwaukee for the All-Star game July 9. Three members of the AL champion New York Yankees were voted onto the team and Torre selected three more as reserves.
Torre was criticized last season for selecting seven Yankees. This year, first baseman Jason Giambi, catcher Jorge Posada and second baseman Alfonso Soriano were voted on by the fans, and Torre picked closer Mariano Rivera, shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Robin Ventura.
“My players are qualified to go to the All-Star game, not just because I pick them,” said Torre, managing for the game for the fifth time. “My players, if they don’t stand up to other players, then I don’t take them.”
Brenly, a first-time All-Star manager, took starting pitchers Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson, outfielder Luis Gonzalez and three first-timers: closer Byung-Hyun Kim, second baseman Junior Spivey and catcher Damian Miller.
Boston was the only other team with more than three All-Stars. Outfielder Manny Ramirez and third baseman Shea Hillenbrand were voted on, and pitchers Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe, and shortstop Nomar Garciaparra are reserves.
The other AL starters are Texas shortstop Alex Rodriguez and outfielders Ichiro Suzuki of Seattle and Torii Hunter of Minnesota.
The NL starters are New York catcher Mike Piazza; Colorado first baseman Todd Helton; Montreal second baseman Jose Vidro and outfielder Vladimir Guerrero; shortstop Jimmy Rollins and third baseman Scott Rolen of Philadelphia; and outfielders Barry Bonds of San Francisco and Sammy Sosa of Chicago.
“The All-Star game is the best,” Sosa said. “Going there, showing how hard I’ve worked, for me, it’s something I’m going to go up and enjoy.”
There are 25 first-time selections, including four who got voted on by the fans: Hillenbrand, Soriano, Hunter and Rolen.
Torre dodged a difficult decision of which of the many talented AL shortstops to take by bringing five to Milwaukee. Backing up Rodriguez will be Jeter, Garciaparra, Cleveland’s Omar Vizquel and Oakland’s Miguel Tejada, who is going for the first time.
One of those players might be forced to play second base, as Soriano has no backup.
“I would play second if they want,” Vizquel said. “I’d play right field. I don’t care. To me, it is the biggest honor to go to an All-Star game.”
The Yankees became the third team ever and first in the AL to have All-Stars at all four infield positions and catcher. The Reds did it in 1976 and the Cubs in 1969.
Brenly took five closers: Kim, Atlanta’s John Smoltz, San Diego’s Trevor Hoffman, and first-timers Mike Williams of Pittsburgh and Eric Gagne of Los Angeles.
The other first-time NL All-Stars are Los Angeles pitcher Odalis Perez, Florida infielders Luis Castillo and Mike Lowell, Milwaukee infielders Richie Sexson and Jose Hernandez and Cincinnati outfielder Adam Dunn.
In the AL, pitchers Mark Buehrle of Chicago, Eddie Guardado of Minnesota, Roy Halladay of Toronto and Barry Zito of Oakland; Minnesota catcher A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko; and outfielders Robert Fick of Detroit, Garret Anderson of Anaheim and Randy Winn of Tampa Bay are going for the first time.
The other NL All-Stars are pitchers Tom Glavine of Atlanta and Matt Morris of St. Louis, San Francisco catcher Benito Santiago, and outfielders Lance Berkman of Houston and Shawn Green of Los Angeles.
The other AL All-Stars are Seattle pitchers Freddy Garcia and Kazuhiro Sasaki, Baltimore third baseman Tony Batista and Kansas City first baseman Mike Sweeney.
There is still one spot open on each team to be determined by fan voting on the Internet over the next two days at MLB.com and ESPN.com. Each manager picked five players for fans to choose from.
Cleveland’s Jim Thome, Oakland’s Eric Chavez, Boston’s Johnny Damon, Anaheim’s Darin Erstad and Chicago’s Magglio Ordonez are in the running for the AL spot.
St. Louis’ Albert Pujols, San Diego’s Ryan Klesko, Colorado’s Larry Walker, Pittsburgh’s Brian Giles and Atlanta’s Andruw Jones are in the running for the NL spot.