07/09/2003 11:54 PM ET
Angels notes: Molina to stay home
Catcher finishes fifth in fan voting for final AL spot
ANAHEIM -- Upon arriving at Edison Field on Wednesday, the banner on the outfield wall urging Angels fans to vote for Bengie Molina in the
etopps All-Star Final Vote competition on angelsbaseball.com had been taken down.
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
As expected, Molina was not chosen by fans as the final member of the American League squad for the July 15 game in Chicago.
The American League selection, Boston catcher Jason Varitek, received 3,210,509 votes. He was followed by Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox; Eric Byrnes of the Oakland A's; Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees and Molina, the Angels' catcher.
"He deserved to go," Molina said of Varitek. "I'm happy for him. I'm a little disappointed. Obviously, it's a big deal. If I didn't make it, I don't feel bad at all. I'll go home and rest."
Entering Wednesday's game, Molina was batting .289 with nine homers and 47 RBIs, plus he was leading the Angels in batting average with runners in scoring position and was second in the AL in percentage of base stealers thrown out.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who will manage the AL team as a result of the Angels' AL championship last year, said there's no doubt in his mind that Molina deserved to go.
"Bengie Molina is an All-Star catcher," Scioscia said. "That doesn't always translate into being selected for the game, but you can compare him with the best catchers in the game and on this team we know how valuable he is."
That point was made evident in a Tuesday press conference with members of the Angels who have been selected for the game.
Outfielder Garret Anderson, third baseman Troy Glaus and reliever Brendan Donnelly will represent Anaheim in the Midsummer Classic at U.S. Cellular Field next Tuesday, and Donnelly, for one, said he never would have made it without his catcher.
"Being an All-Star is called an individual honor," Donnelly said. "But I couldn't have done what I did without Bengie putting down the right fingers and busting his tail back there."
Some Angels seemed more upset by Molina's absence from the All-Star Game than Molina himself, including starter Jarrod Washburn, who has pitched to Molina since they were minor leaguers.
"I think it's a shame," Washburn said. "He definitely showed he's deserving this year. He's the best defensive catcher in the game. I feel bad for him personally."
Eckstein sits again: David Eckstein wasn't in the starting lineup Wednesday and likely won't be for the rest of the week as he recuperates from a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder suffered while tripping over left fielder Anderson in last Sunday's game in Oakland.
Scioscia, who maintains that Eckstein is day-to-day, said it was unlikely that his shortstop will start games until after the All-Star break, although he could "do some things," such as enter a game as a late-inning defensive replacement, pinch-hitter or pinch-runner.
Youth baseball in Anaheim: The Angels will host youth baseball leagues from seven cities at the Pacific Regional Tournament of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series, July 11-14. Teams from Anaheim, Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Tacoma, Wash., Hilo, Hawaii, and Fort Worth, Texas, will participate. This is the second straight year the Angels will host the Pacific Regional Tournament.
The regional tournament games will be held Saturday, July 12, and Sunday, July 13, at Hart Park in Orange for the senior boys baseball and girls softball divisions and at Darin Erstad Field at the Boys and Girls Club of Garden Grove for the junior boys baseball division. Darin Erstad Field was recently refurbished through a donation from the Angels center fielder and is home to the Angels' local RBI program.
The championship games of the regional tournament will take place at Edison Field on Monday, July 14. The junior boys baseball championship will take place at 11 a.m.
PT with the senior boys baseball championship at 2 p.m. PT. Admission is free and open to the public. The winner from each division within the region will advance to the 2003 RBI World Series, which will be held Aug. 6-13 in Houston, home of the 2004 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Doug Miller is a reporter for
MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its