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Thursday, July 7, 2005
Rollins to replace Izturis

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Pedro Martinez pulled out of the All-Star Game on Thursday, saying he wouldn't be able to take the mound in the exhibition because he'll start for the New York Mets two days earlier.

Pedro Martinez
Starting Pitcher
New York Mets
Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
GM W L BB K ERA
17 9 3 23 129 2.80

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, who will lead the NL team in Tuesday's All-Star Game at Detroit, was informed of Martinez's decision Thursday morning, Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said.

Philadelphia Phillies closer Billy Wagner will fill Martinez's spot, and shortstop Jimmy Rollins was added to the National League All-Star roster as a replacement for Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Cesar Izturis.

Izturis went on the disabled list Tuesday with a sore right hamstring.

Martinez is scheduled to start Sunday at the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Mets right-hander is 9-3 with a 2.80 ERA and leads the National League with 129 strikeouts. He finished third among NL pitchers in player voting.

"To be honest, I want to play. I wanted to go because it's my first year with the Mets," Martinez said after New York's 3-2 victory over Washington on Thursday.

"I would love to go if I would get at least one more day of rest. With just one day in between games, I can't pitch like it's a regular game. I don't want to hurt myself up there. I would like to compete, but if not, let somebody else go get the opportunity."

The Mets right-hander is 9-3 with a 2.80 ERA and leads the National League with 129 strikeouts. He finished third among NL pitchers in player voting.

Mets manager Willie Randolph and general manager Omar Minaya said they supported Martinez's choice to skip the All-Star Game.

"That's Pedro's decision," Randolph said. "That's just the way it is."

With the additions, the Phillies have three All-Stars for the first time since 2002, when Rollins, Scott Rolen and Vicente Padilla were on the NL team. Bobby Abreu was elected to start in the NL outfield this year.

Wagner was one of five pitchers on the Internet fan ballot for the final spot on the NL team, but was beaten out by former Astros teammate Roy Oswalt. Wagner was disappointed initially because it meant baseball-obsessed sons Bill, 6, and Jeremy, 4, couldn't go to the game with him.

But when Phillies general manager Ed Wade called his Pittsburgh hotel room Thursday morning to give him the news, Wagner first thought he was being traded.

"I said, 'Geez, Ed, you scared my wife to death,'" Wagner said. "It was one of those things where you go, 'What's going on here?'"

This will be Wagner's fourth All-Star Game, but his first since 2001 and his first with the Phillies. He wasn't chosen in 2002 and 2003 despite having a combined 77 saves.

"It's an honor to go with more than one team," said Wagner, who was with Houston during his previous All-Star appearances. "To be put there with Robin Roberts and some of the greats in Philly is something I thought about. ... That's why I play -- to go to All-Star Game, World Series and the Hall of Fame. I don't play just to play the game."

The day before, Wagner said Oswalt deserved to go ahead of him, but the Phillies closer wasn't about to turn down the spot.

"You're sitting in a clubhouse with guys who are the best in the world -- and you're sitting there and are a part of it," Wagner said. "It's fun to be associated with it."

Rollins' first thought after learning he's going to his third All-Star Game: He hopes Abreu has room for one more on the private plane he is taking to Detroit. This will be Rollins' first All-Star Game since being elected an NL starter in 2002.

This time, Rollins didn't finish in the top five in the fan voting.

"If I hadn't made the team, I was already content with that," he said. "It was like 'Man, I couldn't even crack the top five in voting, that's messed up.' But, hey, the coaches and players had me second on their list and that's really more important, that the people you play among recognize that you're a good player and put you in as one of the top shortstops."

Rollins, batting .268 with seven homers and 23 RBI, was out of the lineup for a second consecutive game Thursday with a sore hand, but expects to play Friday against Washington.