07/13/05 1:30 AM ET
Rodriguez, Trammell enjoy game
Manager enjoys reception, Pudge's focus on second half
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
Tuesday's All-Star Game showed a return to fundamentals for Pudge, who entered the game as a defensive replacement for Jason Varitek in the top of the sixth inning and worked a 10-pitch at-bat into a walk in the bottom half. He's only drawn five walks in 298 at-bats for the Tigers this season, none of them since June 11 at Colorado.
The walk, ironically, came off former Marlins teammate Dontrelle Willis. "He didn't throw me a strike," Rodriguez said, "so I took the walk."
Actually, he threw several strikes, and Pudge fouled off five of them, including four with two strikes before Willis walked him on back-to-back pitches out of the strike zone.
Tigers manager and American League coach Alan Trammell worried aloud Monday whether Pudge's power swing Monday would affect him in the ensuing days. He wasn't fretting anymore Tuesday night.
"I'm not surprised at that," Trammell said. "I like the way he's swinging the bat, and he was telling me after last night that he's really looking forward to the second half. I think he was serious last night, but I think he knows what his ticket is, and that's getting base hits."
Rodriguez didn't actually get one of those. He struck out in his other plate appearance in the eighth inning. His 0-for-1 performance marked his first hitless All-Star Game appearance since 1999, a stretch of four Midsummer Classics. Nevertheless, he enjoyed his 12th All-Star Game.
"This is awesome being in the All-Star Game," said Rodriguez, now 10-for-32 for his career in the Midsummer Classic. "Anytime you can play beside so many great players, it's fun."
Trammell's on-field experience in the game was far less, a half-inning as the AL first base coach. He worked the top of the third and saw David Ortiz held to an RBI single that slammed against the base of the right-field wall.
Trammell's game experience, however, went beyond that. He paced his home dugout with manager Terry Francona and his staff. He shared his managerial office with Francona, who refused to take Trammell's locker and instead set up a temporary version in the other corner. He had a chance to talk with Tejada, then watched him do damage against some other team besides his own.
All in all, Trammell ranked it up with the All-Star Games in which he actually played.
"It was fun," he said. "I enjoyed every minute of it. You know what, it's been a couple long days. I'll enjoy tomorrow, but I'll never forget this. In its own way, I enjoyed it tremendously. We put on a good show."
He even received an applause rivaling that of any player in the game. Whether it was a brief interview broadcast on the Comerica Park scoreboard during the Home Run Derby or his name being called during pregame introductions Tuesday, he was roundly applauded.
"I've always said I really don't know how to repay our fans," he said. "They've cheered, said a lot of nice things. I'm not that good at doing those kinds of things. It's neat, I'm not going to lie to you. It's very much appreciated."
Tiger sightings: Rodriguez was among many Tigers players -- past, present and future -- enjoying an All-Star appearance of sorts. Top prospect Justin Verlander, who made his Major League debut for the Tigers last week in Cleveland before being sent back to the Minors and appearing in Sunday's Futures Game, stayed for the All-Star Game. He had seats behind home plate and right behind the Commissioner's box. Tigers reliever Chris Spurling took in the game and managed to visit the AL clubhouse afterwards.
Cameron Maybin, the Tigers' first-round pick in last month's First-Year Player Draft, also had seats. However, he said he got them through a friend. He took in much of National League batting practice on the field behind the cage, allowing him his first in-person visit to Comerica Park.
"It's a great ballpark," Maybin said. "I'm enjoying my time here watching all these great players. Hopefully the fans of Detroit can see me up here soon."
It should not be taken as a sign that he's close to a deal with the Tigers.
"It's a slow process," he said. "My advisor has been talking with Detroit's staff about that. Hopefully I can sign as soon as I can."
He still expects a contract to be finished sometime this summer. "Oh, definitely," he said. "I'm still very confident that it will get done."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.