07/12/2004 1:32 PM ET
No favoritism in AL lineup
Torre leads with Ichiro, places Yanks 5-6-7 in order
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
|Ivan Rodriguez missed just one game with back spasms. (Ann Heisenfelt/AP)
HOUSTON -- Joe Torre may have three Yankees in his American League All-Star lineup, but he certainly didn't show any favoritism when it came to making out his starting lineup.
Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi and Derek Jeter will hit 5-6-7 for the AL squad, which was unveiled at a press conference in downtown Houston on Monday morning.
"I usually abuse my players, so I put them down below," Torre said. "It's not very scientific."
Leading off for the AL will be Seattle right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, who will play center field in Tuesday's Midsummer Classic.
"I was thinking of how we're going to start it," Torre said. "Ichiro was the only leadoff hitter that came to mind for me."
Batting second is Detroit catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who returns to the AL as a starter after spending the 2003 season leading the Florida Marlins to a World Series title. Rodriguez, who leads the AL with a .369 average, was an obvious choice for Torre toward the top of the lineup.
"Pudge has hit second before," the manager said. "And the fact that he's hitting .370 is tough to ignore."
Anaheim right fielder Vladimir Guerrero will bat third and Boston left fielder Manny Ramirez will hit cleanup, a lethal 3-4 combo that has combined for 48 home runs in the first half of the season.
A-Rod, who has hit third or fourth in every game for the Yankees this season, will bat fifth, followed by his teammates, Giambi and Jeter.
Giambi, who pulled himself out of Monday's Century 21 Home Run Derby as he continues to get his strength back from a battle with an intestinal parasite, will participate in Tuesday's game, having been voted by the fans to start at first base. Torre said that Giambi would likely play three innings.
"We've talked for a few days, and it's a lot of swings," Torre said of the derby. "With how far he's come back now, he's getting close to being good for us. I don't want to jeopardize that."
The Yankees' trio of A-Rod, Giambi and Jeter will hit fifth through seventh, while Alfonso Soriano, the second baseman traded from New York to Texas in the A-Rod trade, will hit eighth.
"Soriano is still younger than Jeter, so he'll hit below Jeter," Torre said.
Soriano was the leading vote-getter among all Major Leaguers in this year's fan voting.
Mark Mulder, the A's left-hander, will start the game for the AL, batting ninth. With NL rules taking effect at Minute Maid Park, Torre will be busy pinch-hitting and double-switching, getting as many of his 32 players into the game as possible.
The AL team features some banged-up players, including Giambi and Ramirez. Torre said that he would take any and all of that information into account when determining how many innings each player would play.
"I'm going to make sure with all of my players, whether it's a player or a pitcher, if there are any physical problems, we're not going to take a chance," Torre said. "The first obligation is to their teams, so you certainly don't want to jeopardize anybody's second half."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.