Holliday to start in All-Star Game
Rockies slugger to play right field in place of injured Soriano
MILWAUKEE -- The Rockies' Matt Holliday will start in right field for the National League in Tuesday's All-Star Game, Colorado manager Clint Hurdle, the skipper of the NL squad, said on Thursday.Holliday will take the place of the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano, who was elected to the starting lineup but cannot play because of a left hand injury he sustained when struck by a pitch on June 11. "It's exciting," Holliday said. "I thought I might have a chance [to start] because Soriano might not have been able to play, so it's pretty cool, pretty exciting."
Hurdle said an MLB official told him that the league's Basic Agreement with the Players' Association stipulates that when an elected starter cannot play, the non-starting player at the same position who received the most votes on the player ballot gets the spot.Hurdle was happy he didn't have to make the decision himself. "To have Matt get in, I think it was meant to be that way," Hurdle said. "It's a clean transition, a seamless transition." Holliday said it was nice knowing that he gets the chance to start because his peers made him the top vote-getter on the players' ballot among NL reserve outfielders. "It's a nice feeling," Holliday said. "Your peers are important, those are the people you compete against and compete with. It's important and it means a lot to every player what the other guys think of you." The veteran has played very few games at Yankee Stadium in his career and reiterated how nice it would be to man right field -- where so many greats have played -- for the last All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. "It'll be neat to play right field in Yankee Stadium," Holldiay said. "And to do it in an All-Star Game will be pretty cool." Holliday, the National League MVP runner-up last season, has played in the past two All-Star Games, both times as a reserve before appearing in right field, and has gone 0-for-5 with a strikeout. There's a strong chance he will see significant playing time in the Midsummer Classic. "Priority 1 is to win the game," Hurdle said "I've been telling the guys that it's not going to be like Spring Training, where you put in the 'second line' in the fifth inning. We're going to play the game appropriately, and if I can, I'm going to get in as many guys as it works." The Brewers' Ryan Braun will start in left field and the Cubs' Kosuke Fukudome will open the game in center field, Hurdle said. "Fukudome has played a lot more center field than people give him credit for," Hurdle said. Hurdle will also need to name a replacement for Soriano on the team, and he said he will do that after the results of the Monster 2008 All-Star Final Vote are known Thursday night. He said the choice wouldn't necessarily be the runner-up. The decision could come as early as Friday, according to Hurdle. "It's not going to be easy," Hurdle said. "When you pick your All-Star team, there's a whole other All-Star team who was left off the list. That's the reality of it and that's how it will always be."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com associate reporter Dave Fultz contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.