Originally created 07/09/02

Torre plans shortstop rotation



MILWAUKEE -- American League All-Star manager Joe Torre might have a harder time dealing with his rotation of five shortstops as opposed to the nine pitchers.

"I'm not sure they will all play shortstop," Torre said Monday on the eve of the All-Star game.

"I'll get as many in as I can. With the National League rules, there will be a lot of double-switching going on to keep the pitchers from having to hit. So probably for that regard, we'll get most of the shortstops in."

Alex Rodriguez will start the game for the AL, with Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, Omar Vizquel and Miguel Tejada backing up. Torre said Jeter might only pinch-hit after spraining his left knee Thursday.

Vizquel has volunteered to play second base, where Alfonso Soriano is the only AL All-Star. Third baseman Robin Ventura also said he would play second if Torre needed him.

Tejada felt fortunate to make his first All-Star team after wondering if he could ever crack the lineup with Rodriguez, Jeter and Garciaparra in the league.

"It's difficult when you have three guys who make it every year," Tejada said. "I knew Joe would give me a chance one of these days. I'm going to make him look good."

The five shortstops admire each other, although when Rodriguez was asked what qualities he'd want from the other four shortstops, it wasn't their skills.

"Jeter's roster, Tejada's pitching staff, and Nomar's pitching staff," A-Rod said.

Rodriguez apparently wasn't envious of anything Vizquel had.

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SMILING SAMMY: Sammy Sosa's wife is just fine, thank you.

Sosa's wife, Sonia, had surgery Monday to repair a deep cut in her right hand. Sosa, who missed the Cubs weekend series in Atlanta to be with his wife, came to Milwaukee for the All-Star game's Home Run derby after the surgery.

"She's doing great," he said. "Thank God everything went perfect. She got surgery already and she's home."

Sosa said Sonia was walking with a glass in her hand when she fell. She had a deep gash near her right thumb.

"They got a couple of stitches that day and then today they had surgery," he said. "So everything is perfect."

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BACK AGAIN: Benito Santiago isn't one of the 29 first-time All-Stars this week but it's easy to understand why he feels that way.

The San Francisco Giants catcher is back at the All-Star game for the first time in 10 years.

"I feel like a rookie again," Santiago said. "After 10 years, I don't know how to explain it. I feel like a kid."

Santiago, the 1987 NL Rookie of the Year, was almost out of baseball after breaking his knee and pelvis in a car crash four years ago.

But Santiago has battled back and will play in his fifth All-Star game on Tuesday.

"Two years ago, I was out of baseball and people were saying everything was done," he said. "But I didn't give up and worked hard and now I'm back."

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WRONG SIDE OF THE FIELD: Robin Yount spent his entire career with the Milwaukee Brewers, who now play in the National League, and coaches for the NL champion Arizona Diamondbacks.

So it will be a little strange for Yount to be sitting in the AL dugout Tuesday night as an honorary captain for Joe Torre and looking at Bob Brenly and the Diamondback players across the field.

"It's an honor to be here, although it's a bit unusual circumstances with our guys over on that side and I'm over here with Joe."

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STRIKING BACK: Baseball fans are using the power of the Internet to call for a strike of their own.

Thousands of fans have visited at least four Web sites calling for a nationwide boycott of major league baseball on Thursday to protest a possible work stoppage.

"We're trying to get their attention and let them know there is a third party that they may not be aware of," said Don Wadewitz, who designed the Web site calling for the boycott.

There will be a second fan strike Aug. 1 if no contract has been signed by then. The group is calling for a boycott of one game for each one canceled by a possible work stoppage.

If the postseason is wiped out again, "It's strike three and we're out," Wadewitz said.