07/02/06 7:50 PM ET
Utley, Howard and Gordon earn berths
Right side of infield to join closer at July 11 All-Star Game
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
Though he didn't say it, No. 1 might be reserved for his role in a World Series championship, something he hopes will someday happen.Utley agreed, but it's still a moment to bask in the accomplishment of having been voted to start by the fans. It's an honor bestowed to teammates Bobby Abreu and Jimmy Rollins in the past, and Utley is the first Phillies second baseman voted in since Mariano Duncan in 1994. "It's exciting. I'm going to try to take it all in and have a good time," Utley said. Despite sporting a losing record, the Phillies are one of four NL teams with at least two All-Stars, joining the Braves, Cardinals and Mets. The first-place Mets lead the way with six representatives. Though Utley started slow in the voting, he eventually overtook Astros veteran Craig Biggio. The left-handed swinger is having a second prime season, with 16 homers and 49 RBIs through Sunday. For Gordon, this season marks a resurgence for the 38-year-old closer, who had spent the previous two seasons setting up for Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. He'll see his good friend in the Steel City, as Rivera was named to the AL roster. Gordon was an All-Star in 1998 and 2004, with the Red Sox and Yankees, respectively. Gordon took the news in businesslike fashion, and put the emphasis on the team's performance. "I just thank God it worked out well for me," he said. "Still, I wish we were playing a lot better. It's still an honor and very important to me. Wins and losses are the most important thing in this game. I've been an All-Star before, so I know what that feels like, but I've never won a World Series." Gordon acknowledged that it won't be one and done for Howard and Utley. "They have many more," Gordon said. As for Howard, make no mistake regarding his excitement, but this is still something he expects of himself. "I have high expectations," Howard said. "It's not something I went out to focus on, but at the same time if went out and did what I was capable of, then hopefully it would land this way. I have goals, to try and play at an All-Star caliber level."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.