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Livan doesn't pitch, but has fun
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07/14/2004  1:59 AM ET
Livan doesn't pitch, but has fun
Expos pitcher thrilled to be part of All-Star festivities
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Livan Hernandez (right) said one of the highlights was seeing Muhammad Ali. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)
HOUSTON -- Livan Hernandez leads all of Major League Baseball with 135 2/3 innings pitched this season, so it didn't matter to him that there were no innings to be found for him during Tuesday's All-Star Game.

He was just glad to be here.

"We had like five more pitchers in the bullpen ready to go if we were needed," Hernandez said. "It didn't matter to me. I had fun."

With one out in the top of the ninth inning, Hernandez started warming up in the National League bullpen. As it turned out, there was no need for a ninth NL pitcher this night. Eric Gagne finished the inning, the American League held on for a 9-4 victory, and being idle was just fine with the Montreal Expos' lone representative in the game.

"The whole thing was a perfect experience for me," Hernandez said. "I enjoy the All-Star Game so much, one of the great moments in baseball. You see everything differently when you are here with all of the top players in the game.

"I've been in two World Series (1997 with Florida and 2002 with San Francisco). That's the best moment. This is something special, because it's something you enjoy with other players and friends. It's my first one, and you never know if you'll make it back for a second one.

2004 All-Star Game

If anything, Hernandez (6-8 with a 3.58 ERA) will be more rested now. He is scheduled to start the Expos' second-half opener Thursday in Atlanta against Jaret Wright. Hernandez has had trouble against the Braves this season, lasting two-plus innings in his last outing against them July 7.

He can start thinking about that next appearance now. In the meantime, this was a chance to have the time of his life. Hernandez said one of the highlights he will remember was joining with other players to huddle around Muhammad Ali as the legendary former boxer participated in the ceremonial first pitch before the game.

"He's the greatest -- what else can you say?" Hernandez said. "Everybody knows about him from boxing. He was a great fighter, and that was something special to be there with him. The whole All-Star Game was special for me."

Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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