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07/10/06 6:24 PM ET

Redman proud to be All-Star

Lefty shrugs off critics as Royals' lone representative

PITTSBURGH -- Mark Redman is not about to apologize for being in Pittsburgh at the All-Star Game.

Yes, he has a 5.27 ERA. But for what he has gone through -- the health issues his parents have faced chief among them -- to win six of his last seven starts, Redman knows he is plenty deserving of the All-Star bid.

"I'm an All-Star. The critics can say what they want, but I'm still an All-Star," Redman said on Monday at his downtown hotel. "And I'm happy to be here and proud to be here."

Since the teams were released a week ago, much had been made by the media of an All-Star system that calls for all 30 teams to be represented, with Redman the face of the debate.

It bothered the 32-year old left-hander to an extent, he admitted, but nothing could take away from his first All-Star appearance.

"People can say all they want," Redman said. "[But] I've also been pitching pretty well lately. It was not handed to me by any means. "I'm going to have fun here. That's what it's all about."

Adding to the intrigue of Redman's All-Star debut is that it's coming in the Steel City, where he pitched for the Pirates last season. At last year's All-Star break, he was Pittsburgh's best pitcher and his 3.76 ERA made him a legitimate candidate for the Midsummer Classic. But he sputtered in the season's second half and was traded to the Royals for Jonah Bayliss and a player to be named later.

"It's sort of ironic to be coming back as an All-Star," Redman said. "But there's no special feeling by any means."

And there certainly wasn't with Kansas City to start the season. He began the year on the disabled list after missing most of Spring Training recovering from knee surgery. He then found out in April that his mother had cancer and took time off in May to be with his father, Allen, before he underwent major heart surgery in April.

His father's outlook was grim and he wanted his last moments spent with him to be at home, not in a hospital. Allen pulled through and told his son he didn't want to see him away from the game.

So, "driven by heart and courage" and beginning to "look at life a little differently," Redman said he was finally at peace. Everything came together, and from June 4-25, he won four straight starts and posted a 3.74 ERA during the stretch.

Now, he is a virtual lock to pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game and become Kansas City's first starting pitcher in the Midsummer Classic since Jose Rosado made the team in 1999. Redman is perhaps the American League's freshest pitcher, having not thrown since Thursday against Toronto.

Redman wondered aloud if his critics took that into consideration. Teams don't adjust their rotations around the All-Star Game.

"When [AL manager Ozzie Guillen] looks at his roster spots with the pitching spots he has, he needed a pitcher that was available and that was me."

Not that he feels an explanation is necessary.

"It's just another accomplishment," Redman said. "I don't feel sorry that I'm here."

David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.