07/05/09 6:05 PM ET
Wright, Beltran among Mets' four All-Stars
Santana, Rodriguez also named to National League roster
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
Wright was certain he could enjoy participating in the 80th edition of Major League Baseball's annual summer showcase July 14 in St. Louis, even with his team struggling as it has.
"It's still baseball," Wright said, celebrating the game even as he tried to turn the page.
Wright, as much as any player, sees the game as former Pirates manager Chuck Tanner saw it.
"The best thing you can do on any given day," Tanner would say, "is win a baseball game. The second-best thing is lose one."
Wright didn't celebrate his election in the otherwise hushed Mets clubhouse. But he reveled in it.
"I love being in it. I wouldn't miss it," Wright said. "And hopefully I'll enjoy the games before and after it, too."
Wright, the only member of the Mets' celebrated and decimated core to avoid assignment to the disabled list this season, and Carlos Beltran have been elected to the team that will represent the National League in St. Louis. But Beltran, assigned to the DL, isn't expected to participate because of his bruised and aching right knee.
Given the spate of injuries that has struck the Mets, his absence would be perversely appropriate. Injury could be represent them, along with Wright, Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez. With two of their pitchers selected to participate, the Mets have the most players on the NL roster and another reminder of the talent missing from their roster.
Results of the fans' voting and the selections by league officials, identifying 32 players for each 33-player roster, were announced Sunday during the 2009 MLB All-Star Selection Show presented by Pepsi and televised nationally on TBS.
Wright learned he had been elected for the third time in four years, and Santana and K-Rod that they had been selected for the fourth times in their careers. Beltran was not with the team when the announcements were made.
Wright outpolled his buddy Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals and Braves icon Chipper Jones. Last year, Wright had placed behind Jones and Aramis Ramirez of the Cubs in the fan balloting and behind Corey Hart in the Final Player Voting before he was chosen to replace injured Cub Alfonso Soriano. Wright served as the designated hitter after he pinch-hit for starting DH Albert Pujols in the eighth inning of the 15-inning, 4-3 American League victory last year. Wright produced one hit in three at-bats at Yankee Stadium as he did in his appearances in the 2006 and '07 games.
The three days in St. Louis will be a break, but not one he longs for.
"It's baseball and, obviously, an honor," Wright said. "I'll have some good experiences."
Beltran might attend; the Mets were unsure. But manager Jerry Manuel said, "I doubt he'll be playing."
Beltran placed third in the balloting for NL outfielders, holding off late challenges by Soriano and Shane Victorino of the Phillies. Beltran's total was exceeded only by those of the Brewers' Ryan Braun and the Phils' Raul Ibanez, who is also on the disabled list. Beltran had been a member of the NL All-Star team for four years before missing last year. He was voted to the American League team as a member of the Royals in 2005 and then added to the NL team after the Royals traded him to the Astros.
With Beltran likely eliminated, Wright will be the only Mets player to appear in each All-Star Game from 2006-09. He and Billy Wagner was chosen last year. Weight, Wagner, Beltran and Jose Reyes represented the Mets in 2007, and six Mets were on the '06 team -- Wright, Beltran, Reyes, Tom Glavine, Paul Lo Duca and Pedro Martinez, though Martinez excused himself.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally July 14 by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
Wright, 26, is in the midst of an intriguing season. He has led the NL in batting with some regularity in the past five weeks despite extended slumps. His .326 average stands among the leaders in the league though it is 30 points lower than his average after his game June 25. He has five hits in his 41 most recent at-bats. A runnerup in the 2006 Home Run Derby at the 2006 All-Star Game and having averaged 29 home runs per season for four years, he has hit merely five this season while his strikeout total has soared.
With the Mets at the midpoint of the season, Wright is on course to strike out 168 times. He averaged 115 strikeouts in his first four full seasons.
Beltran, 32, was assigned to the disabled list June 22 because of bruised right knee. He still qualifies for the batting race, and his .336 average ranked second in the NL when the announcement was made. He had 40 RBIs, two fewer than Wright, the Mets' leader.
Beaten by the Phillies, 2-0, on Sunday, Santana, 30, was an All-Star in his last three seasons with the Twins (2005-07). He appeared in each game. He was not selected last season, his first with the Mets. Though June was the worst month of Santana's career -- he lost four times and produced a 6.19 ERA, he still ranks among the league leaders in victories (nine) and strikeouts (107) after the Mets' 2-0 loss.
Rodriguez's save total (21) in his first season in the NL had him tied for fourth in the big leagues. At 27, he is an All-Star for the fourth time and the third consecutive year.
Santana has pitched each time he was selected. And because he will have had two days rest by July 14, he is likely to be available.
"If I have to, I'll pitch," Santana said. "The idea is to pitch and help your team."
K-Rod would like to pitch, too.
"But more than I did the other times," Rodriguez said. "I pitched a third [of an inning] each time. I guess they thought I wasn't good enough to do more."
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.