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Mariners send five to All-Star Game
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07/06/2003  6:26 PM ET 
Mariners send five to All-Star Game
Moyer named for the first time
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    ARLINGTON - - The best record in the American League this season resulted in five Mariners being selected to the American League All-Star team.

    Left-hander Jamie Moyer, the first AL pitcher to win 10 games this season, and reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa, were named to an All-Star team for the first time while right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, second baseman Bret Boone and designated hitter Edgar Martinez added to their Midsummer Classic resumes.

    "It is an honor for us to get five and there is no question that all of them deserve to go, along with a couple of others," said manager Bob Melvin, who thought right-handed starter Gil Meche and left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes were worthy of selection.

    Ichiro landed his third straight start and received the most votes for the third consecutive year.

    He had 2,130,708 votes, becoming the first player since 1970 to be the overall top vote-getter in each of his first three full seasons in the Major Leagues.

    He will start in the AL outfield at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on July 15 with fellow elected starter and Japan native Hideki Matsui of the New York Yankees. It is the first time two Japanese position players will appear in the Midsummer Classic.

    "Please convey my congratulations to Mr. Matsui," Ichiro said, adding that having the Yankees' rookie alongside him in the AL outfield makes his third straight All-Star Game start "more significant and meaningful to me."

    This is the seventh All-Star selection for Martinez, his fourth as a starter.

    "Every All-Star Game has special meaning," Martinez said, "but this one will be very special because it might be my last one. I am going to enjoy it."

    Martinez isn't sure if this will be his final season, but the All-Star Game in 2004 will be played in Houston and the designated hitter rule won't be used.

    Edgar returned to All-Star form this season after missing most of the first half of last season with a leg injury. Going into Sunday night's game against the Rangers, he was batting 299 with 17 home runs 59 RBIs.

    He reached the 2,000-hit level earlier this season and holds virtually every offensive record in the franchise record book. The overwhelming DH choice among the voters, Martinez also had a 253-58 edge over Carl Everett in the Player Vote.

    Boone, a reserve All-Star for the National League in 1998, was voted in as a starter in 2001 and returns this year as a backup to the Yankees Alfonso Soriano, who had more votes from the fans. Boone, however, outpolled his counterpart, 204-137, in the Player Vote.

    Boone said he was pleased to get another All-Star invitation, but was even more delighted that his younger brother, Aaron, was selected to the NL team.

    "That's what I was really excited about. If you can remember how excited Cammy (Mike Cameron) was a couple of years ago, that's how excited Aaron is going to be. Not too many people can say they played in an All-Star Game with their brother."

    Meanwhile, the 40-year-old Moyer continues to amaze.

    His career was hanging by a thread when the Mariners acquired him from the Red Sox prior to the July 31 trade deadline in 1996, and he has been a rotation mainstay ever since.

    Being an All-Star adds another niche to a remarkable career.

    Moyer became the oldest pitcher in MLB history to win at least 20 games in a season when he went 20-6 in 2001 and his 116-54 record since '96 ranks among the best in the Major Leagues.

    The changeup specialist has an 11-5 record and 2.99 ERA this season.

    "I wouldn't be where I am today without my teammates and this just goes to show what kind of ballclub we have," Moyer said. "You don't get voted into the All-Star Game alone. It is a great achievement and I'm honored to get an opportunity to play in an All-Star Game.

    "I feel I have been rewarded for a lot of hard work."

    One of the rewards is being able to take his two sons -- Dillon, 11 and Hutton, 10 -- to Chicago and share the three-day event with them. Moyer's wife, Karen, is in her last month of pregnancy and won't be able to make the trip.

    Interestingly, both Moyer boys played in All-Star games Sunday in Seattle.

    "I talked to one this morning and the other this afternoon and they're excited," he said. The big surprise choice was Hasegawa, who said Saturday that he didn't think he had much chance of landing a spot on the 32-player AL roster. But his 0.81 ERA in 37 relief appearances caught the attention of Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

    The Anaheim skipper, in conjunction with MLB, named Hasegawa, Dmitri Young of the Detroit Tigers as a reserve, along with pitchers Lance Carter of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays; Hasegawa; Mike MacDougal of the Royals; and C.C. Sabathia of the Cleveland Indians.

    The five Mariners selected to the All-Star team represent the second-most in franchise history. Eight were selected to the All-Star team in 2001 when the game was played at Safeco Field. Seattle also had five players on the 1996 and '97 All-Star teams.

    "Shiggy is more than deserving," Mariners pitching coach Bryan Price said, "and it's good that the league is starting to appreciate the setup role and what these guys are doing. When you really look at it and see guys who are pitching in late-game situations with ERAs under one (1.00), it stands out. You don't see many ERAs that begin with zero."

    Hasegawa said the game has changed to the point where setup relievers are key pitchers on any staff.

    "Now that (Brendan) Donnelly and I have made the All-Star Game, maybe it is good for all (setup) pitchers. I also want to thank Mike Scioscia. I played for him for two years and was OK with him."

    The 74th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pre-game ceremonies beginning at 8:00 p.m. (EDT). ESPN Radio will provide exclusive, national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage and MLB.com Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.

    Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League baseball or its clubs.



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