Longoria Out of All-Star Game

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

ST. LOUIS -- A frustrating injury left Evan Longoria with an unusual role in the All-Star Game: cheerleader.

The Tampa Bay Rays third baseman withdrew from Tuesday night's game because of an infected right ring finger. He was replaced in the American League starting lineup by Texas Rangers third baseman Michael Young, who batted seventh.

Chone Figgins of the Los Angeles Angels took Longoria's spot on the AL squad, managed by Joe Maddon of the Rays.

"Obviously, you don't come to an All-Star Game and want to sit on the bench and watch," Longoria said. "It's just unfortunate. Obviously, me and Joe went back and forth about what to do. Being here and being with the American League club, like I've said this before, it would be a disservice to them to go out there and try and play and win a game when I'm not up to full health."

Figgins was scheduled to arrive in St. Louis a little more than 90 minutes before the first pitch and receive a special escort to the ballpark, Maddon said.

Longoria was given antibiotics and said the injury was getting better. He said he was 95 percent sure he would be ready to play Friday night, when the Rays open the second half of the season in Kansas City.

"Obviously, priority one is the Rays and being healthy for Friday's game," Longoria said. "I shouldn't miss any regular-season games with this."

Young is a six-time All-Star who will be making his first start. He got the news Tuesday, after Maddon told him Monday night that the switch might occur.

"It's kind of bittersweet. Obviously, I came here to play and I knew I was going to play at some point in the game," Young said. "I'm disappointed for Evan. He's having a great first half and he's a great young player and it would have been great to see him get the opportunity he deserves. But, having played against him for about a year and a half now, he's going to get some more cracks at this."

Longoria was an All-Star as a rookie last year and hit a tying double in the eighth inning off Billy Wagner at Yankee Stadium.

He planned to stay through the game Tuesday night.

"I'll be on the bench and do my cheer leading," Longoria said.

Young won MVP honors at the 2006 game in Pittsburgh after hitting a go-ahead, two-run triple with two outs in the ninth inning off career saves leader Trevor Hoffman.

Shifted from shortstop to third base this season by the Rangers, Young is batting .308 with 11 homers and 37 RBIs.

The speedy Figgins, a first-time All-Star, is hitting .310 with one homer, 28 RBIs and an AL-leading 68 runs. In addition to third base, he can play in the middle infield and outfield.

"I liked his versatility," Maddon said.


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