Mussina All-Star, but no starter

July 04, 1994|By Tom Keegan | Tom Keegan,Sun Staff Writer

Rafael Palmeiro questioned All-Star Game manager Cito Gaston's judgment yesterday, but it's not what you think.

Despite a .338 batting average, 57 runs, 14 home runs and 49 RBIs, Palmeiro said he does not feel he was slighted by Gaston, who did not select him as a reserve.

It was Gaston's failure to mention teammate Mike Mussina as a candidate to start the game that had Palmeiro wondering.

"He's not getting any consideration to start?" Palmeiro said. "I think he deserves it. I think he's pitched as good as anybody, don't you?"

Gaston, who last season did not use Mussina in the game played at Camden Yards, did not see it that way.

During yesterday's All-Star team program, NBC's Bob Costas asked Gaston about his starting pitching plans, and Gaston mentioned two names: David Cone and Jimmy Key, both former Toronto Blue Jays, both deserving candidates.

Gaston did not mention Mussina, another deserving candidate, and Costas didn't ask why.

Nor did Mussina, joined on the 28-man American League All-Star squad by shortstop Cal Ripken and closer Lee Smith, question Gaston. In fact, he seemed surprised it was an issue.

"That's fine," Mussina said. "I'll be perfectly happy to go out there get three outs and watch the rest of the game, if he'll let me."

Mussina and Smith were selected as members of Gaston's nine-man pitching staff for the July 12 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh, but that doesn't mean they will pitch in the game.

Gaston decided not to use Mussina in his home ballpark last summer. This time, he has a chance to not use him in his home state.

Mussina is tied with Key and Cone for the league lead with 12 victories, ranks second in the AL in innings pitched to the Milwaukee Brewers' Cal Eldred and ranks fourth in ERA behind Cone, Milwaukee's Ricky Bones and the Boston Red Sox's Roger Clemens.

Mussina, 25, has made the All-Star team in all three of his full seasons in the major leagues. Smith has been selected four seasons in a row and six overall. Ripken starts for the 11th consecutive season and is on the team for the 12th time in his 13-year career.

Smith has not appeared in the game his past three times on the team. He pitched three innings in 1987 to earn the National League's last victory.

"Lee got the win, and I got the save," Orioles left-hander Sid Fernandez said. "It was backwards."

If Smith pitches this time, it will only be for one inning.

"I don't really care if I pitch, just so long as I get to stand on that line [for introductions]," Smith said. "Standing on that line really means a lot. It's a good feeling for me."

As for Palmeiro, he voiced no complaints about Frank Thomas' being voted by the fans and Will Clark's being selected as the reserve.

"I had my best first half ever," Palmeiro said. "I feel like I had a good enough half to make it, but when you have guys like Mo Vaughn, Will and Frank Thomas having career years, those guys are more deserving. I think Mo Vaughn deserved to go. If he didn't make it with 21 bombs and 63 ribbies, I wasn't going to go.

"Mo deserved to go, just like [Jose] Canseco and [Julio] Franco did. There are too many good players. You can't take everybody."

Orioles manager Johnny Oates pointed to Palmeiro, reliever Mark Eichhorn and starter Ben McDonald as worthy candidates, but did not find fault with Gaston's selections.

"You look at what Raffy, Eichhorn and McDonald have done, and it would have been nice for them to be selected, but you can only take so many guys," Oates said.

Four players from Gaston's last-place Blue Jays made the team and no other club has more than three representatives.

FINAL NL VOTING

Catchers

1, Mike Piazza, Los Angeles, 2,536,825. 2, Kirk Manwaring, San Francisco, 2,258,497. 3, Darren Daulton, Philadelphia, 2,014,904. 4, Javier Lopez, Atlanta, 698,466. 5, Benito Santiago, Florida, 537,602. 6, Joe Girardi, Colorado, 496,914. 7, Scott Servais, Houston, 310,345. 8, Tom Pagnozzi, St. Louis, 298,048. 9, Rick Wilkins, Chicago, 289,656. 10, Don Slaught, Pittsburgh, 278,523.

First basemen

1, Gregg Jefferies, St. Louis, 2,246,987. 2, John Kruk, Philadelphia, 1,961,292. 3, Fred McGriff, Atlanta, 1,889,529. 4, Andres Galarraga, Colorado, 1,298,205. 5, Jeff Bagwell, Houston, 6, Mark Grace, Chicago, 522,062. 7, Eric Karros, Los Angeles, 416,004. 8, Hal Morris, Cincinnati, 314,118. 9, David Segui, New York, 237,547. 10, Randy Milligan, Montreal, 179,109.

Second basemen

1, Mariano Duncan, Philadelphia, 2,029,752. 2, Ryne Sandberg, Chicago, 1,614,772. 3, Craig Biggio, Houston, 1,309,695. 4, Roberto Mejia, Colorado, 986,473. 5, Jeff Kent, New York, 783,428. 6, Mark Lemke, Atlanta, 729,127.7, Delino DeShields, Los Angeles, 693,109. 8, Bret Boone, Cincinnati, 406,493. 9, Robby Thompson, San Francisco, 340,081. 10, Carlos Garcia, Pittsburgh, 244,167.

Shortstops

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