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07/02/06 8:19 PM ET
Tribe's Sizemore an All-Star reserve
Consistent leadoff presence picked by Chicago's Guillen
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- What with the female fan club created in his honor and the "Mrs. Sizemore" shirts that bear his name, there's little denying that Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore is a star. But now, for the first time in his career, Sizemore is an All-Star. Sizemore was picked to represent the American League as a reserve outfielder in the 77th annual All-Star Game, which will be held at 8 p.m. ET July 11 at Pittsburgh's PNC Park. Of course, you wouldn't know it to talk to Sizemore. The abnormally soft-spoken center fielder didn't have much to say about his selection. "It's a great honor," he said. "I didn't expect it." While Sizemore was surprised, the fact that it was White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen who named him to the squad isn't exactly a shock. Guillen, after all, is the one who dubbed Sizemore the "best all-around player in the AL Central" last fall. Sizemore's own manager, Eric Wedge, had similarly good things to say about the 23-year-old. "He's such a consistent player on both [offense and defense]," Wedge said. "He's arguably one of the best leadoff hitters in the game right now. Everything has happened for him in a hurry." Indeed, it has. This All-Star appearance comes in the midst of Sizemore's second full season in the big leagues. A bundle of energy and hustle, Sizemore hit .289 with 22 homers, 22 stolen bases and 81 RBIs last year. He became only the second player in Indians history to record 20 doubles, 10 triples, 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in a single season, Robbie Alomar being the first. This year, he's built on those numbers, as his power has increased, his awareness on the basepaths has gotten sharper and his bat has been a reliable, consistent source of production from the leadoff spot. The Tribe signed Sizemore to a historic six-year contract at the end of Spring Training. The commitment was the longest ever given to a player with only one full year of service time under his belt.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.