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Beltran in a unique situation
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07/04/2004  7:45 PM ET
Beltran in a unique situation
Chosen by AL peers, but cannot play for NL
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Carlos Beltran was voted to the All-Star Game by his former AL peers. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

HOUSTON -- Carlos Beltran is a 2004 All-Star, but he won't be playing in the All-Star Game.

The center fielder was elected by his peers as one of the reserves for the American League team, but he was traded to the Houston Astros the night that the player balloting began. Therefore, it was impossible to switch him over to the National League ballot.

Beltran finished fourth among AL player votes for the eight available position player spots but was dealt to a National League team.

The Commissioner's Office did not think it was fair for Beltran to take away a roster spot from another NL player, so instead, they created a special status for the center fielder. He is recognized by Major League Baseball as an All-Star and he is allowed to participate in all All-Star-related activities, other than the game itself.

2004 All-Star Game

"It was a joint decision by Major League Baseball and the players association," said Sandy Alderson, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations. "(Beltran) was voted in by the American League players as a member of the American League. He'll be honored and recognized at the All-Star Game, but because he has been traded to the National League, he'll be unable to play.

"That's primarily because he was voted in by one group of players and would've been representing an entirely different group of players in a new league."

The new rules of All-Star voting, which include players having a say in who makes the team, have only been in effect for the past two All-Star Games and may be changed when the entire format is revisited for next year.

Under the previous rules, when all reserves were selected by the manager and the Commissioner's office, Beltran would not have been selected to the American League team, Alderson said.

Beltran was still absorbing the news when he was approached by reporters following Sunday's game.

"The GM (Gerry Hunsicker) came to me today and he told me they voted me to play in the American League," he said. "Now I'm in a situation where I'm in the National League. I need to call MLB to see what's going to happen because I don't know."

Beltran also wasn't sure if he would participate in All-Star week given the restrictions placed upon him.

"I have to call my agent and call MLB to see what I have to do," he said. "If I show up, then when the game starts, am I out of here? This is the first time this situation has happened. I don't know what's going to happen."

If a National Leaguer gets hurt and is unable to play in the All-Star Game, Beltran would qualify as a candidate to replace that player.

NL manager Jack McKeon opted not to select Beltran as one of five candidates for the Ameriquest 2004 All-Star Final Vote, through which fans will select the 32nd man on each roster. Voting for that final spot began at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday on and the 30 club sites. McKeon picked Juan Pierre, Aramis Ramirez, Jason Kendall, Bobby Abreu and Steve Finley.

Beltran was batting .278 (74-for-266) with 15 homers and 51 RBIs for the Kansas City Royals at the time of his June 24 trade to Houston. Through Sunday's game, Beltran was hitting .286 (10-for-35) with four homers and seven RBIs for the Astros.

Amid the confusion, Beltran was able to take some joy that his former American League peers thought enough of him to elect him to their All-Star team.

"Every time you're chosen to be in an All-Star Game, that means people are recognizing what you're doing out there," he said. "This is my first one, and I hope it won't be my last one."

Alyson Footer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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