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Hernandez headed for Houston
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07/04/2004  7:00 PM ET
Hernandez headed for Houston
Expos right-hander a first-time All-Star
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Livan Hernandez leads the Expos in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched. (Andre Pichette/AP)

SAN JUAN -- Right-hander Livan Hernandez has accomplished a lot in his big league career.

He was the MVP of both the National League Championship Series and the World Series in 1997, and he guided the Giants to the World Series in 2002.

Since coming over to the Expos the following spring, Hernandez has become the ace of the staff. He had his best season in '03, going 15-10 with a 3.20 ERA.

But there was something Hernandez had never accomplished going into this season: He had never been an All-Star.

The wait is over, because Marlins manager Jack McKeon made Hernandez a member of the National League All-Star team on Sunday.

The Midsummer Classic will be played on July 13 at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

2004 All-Star Game

"It's a dream come true," Hernandez said. "It's something you want to do during your career. I won the World Series already, so I wanted to the go the All-Star Game.

"I want to thank my teammates. They have my back on the field. Making the All-Star Game is not easy. I want to enjoy the moment."

Hernandez, 29, is 6-7 with 3.23 ERA, and he is on pace to strike out 200 batters for the first time in his career. He also leads the NL in innings pitched (133 2/3), games started (18) and complete games (four).

Teammates Brian Schneider and Brad Wilkerson recognize Hernandez's importance to the team.

"I'm very happy for him," Schneider said. "He's thrown the ball well. His record doesn't show how good he has pitched because we lost a lot of leads for him. His record should be way better than what it is."

   Livan Hernandez  /   P
Born: 02/20/75
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 240 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

Said Wilkerson: "He goes out every night and keeps us in the ballgame. We expect to have a shot to win in every ballgame that he's in. That's all you can ask out of your pitcher."

Hernandez demonstrated the type of pitcher he is on Friday against the Blue Jays. He gave up four hits, struck out five batters and walked just one in a shutout victory. Hernandez threw 118 pitches, including 76 for strikes. The Expos won the game, 2-0.

Two days later, manager Frank Robinson talked about how Hernandez deserved to be in the All-Star Game.

"It's quite an honor and he deserves it," Robinson said. "In my opinion, it was between Livan, (Jose) Vidro or Wilkerson. After talking to everybody, I felt it depended on how the team was made up and what the needs were when they selected a player. I'm very proud of Livan. He'll do a good job for them if he's able to get in the game."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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