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TORRE picks seven Yankees for AL All-Star team


NEW YORK (AP) _ Here's another reason to hate New York: Joe Torre picked seven Yankees for the AL All-Star team

That gives the three-time defending World Series champions one more All-Star than the host Seattle Mariners, who have baseball's best record, with 12 more victories than the Yankees.

``We have the best record, but it didn't work out that way,'' said Seattle reliever Jeff Nelson, who was bypassed with the Mariners as he was last year with the Yankees. ``Maybe this will motivate some guys who are upset.''

The Yankees manager knew he would be criticized.

``I don't apologize for taking seven Yankees,'' he said after his picks were announced Wednesday. ``I think they all have numbers that make their choice appropriate.''

Starters Roger Clemens (12-1) and Andy Pettitte (8-4) were picked along with closer Mariano Rivera, setup man Mike Stanton, shortstop Derek Jeter, outfielder Bernie Williams and catcher Jorge Posada.

`I don't mind,'' Boston's Manny Ramirez said. ``We win the World Series this year, maybe Jimy Williams can pick seven Red Sox next year.''

The Yankees are the first team with seven All-Stars since Atlanta in 1997 and the first AL team since Toronto in 1993. It is the first time seven Yankees were picked since 1962.

``The guys selected all deserve to go,'' Jeter said. ``People are going to say some players should go and some players shouldn't go, this guy and not this guy. But that happens every year, regardless of who is the manager and who's chosen.''

Seattle's Freddy Garcia and Kazuhiro Sasaki were picked for the AL staff.

The NL roster, which had no more than three players from any team, was more notable for its omissions than its selections: no Mark McGwire, no Ken Griffey Jr.

Both perennial All-Stars have been injured for much of this year.

San Diego's Tony Gwynn, injured for much of the past 1 1/2 years, was bypassed, but got invited as a special guest.

Gwynn, a 15-time All-Star, and Baltimore's Cal Ripken, a 19-time All-Star with his election to start at third for the AL, intend to retire after this season.

NL manager Bobby Valentine, like Torre, has nine first-time All-Stars, but just two players from his defending NL champion Mets, including Mike Piazza, elected to start at catcher.

``I didn't know they were taking seven guys when I submitted my list,'' Valentine said.

Completing the AL staff are Minnesota's Eric Milton and Joe Mays, Anaheim's Troy Percival and Toronto's Paul Quantrill, also a setup man. Torre didn't take Seattle's Aaron Sele (9-1) or Jamie Moyer (9-4).

Other AL backup infielders are Cleveland's Roberto Alomar, Detroit's Tony Clark, Oakland's Jason Giambi, Anaheim's Troy Glaus, Minnesota's Cristian Guzman and Kansas City's Mike Sweeney.

Chicago's Magglio Ordonez and Tampa Bay's Greg Vaughn also were selected as backup outfielders.

Valentine took 11 pitchers: Atlanta's John Burkett, Colorado's Mike Hampton, Arizona's Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, Chicago's Jon Lieber, St. Louis' Matt Morris, Los Angeles' Chan Ho Park and Jeff Shaw, Rick Reed of the Mets, Milwaukee's Ben Sheets and Houston's Billy Wagner.

Atlanta's Greg Maddux (9-5), who leads the league with a 2.38 ERA, was overlooked and may have asked not to be picked.

Florida's Charles Johnson is the backup catcher and may start because Piazza has a broken toe.

Reserve NL infielders are Sean Casey of the Reds, Ryan Klesko and Phil Nevin of the Padres, Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies and Albert Pujols of the Cardinals.

Backup outfielders include Moises Alou and Lance Berkman of the Astros, Brian Giles of the Pirates, Vladimir Guerrero of the Expos and Larry Walker of the Rockies.

Valentine said he didn't bypass Florida's Cliff Floyd (.339) because of their spat earlier this year.

``Just because I've been left off the team, I won't go back and say that he's an idiot,'' said Floyd, who spoke Tuesday with Valentine. ``I'll continue to think _ after yesterday _ that he's a pretty good man.''

Four Seattle players _ first baseman John Olerud, second baseman Bret Boone, outfielder Ichiro Suzuki and designated hitter Edgar Martinez _ will be in the AL starting lineup, which also includes Ripken, Ramirez, Texas shortstop Alex Rodriguez, Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez and Cleveland outfielder Juan Gonzalez.

Elected to start for the NL were Colorado first baseman Todd Helton, San Francisco second baseman Jeff Kent and shortstop Rich Aurilia, Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones, Piazza, San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds, Chicago outfielder Sammy Sosa and Arizona outfielder Luis Gonzalez.
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