07/15/09 12:31 AM ET
All-Star Game 'special' for Haren, Upton
D-backs ace tosses shutout frame; outfielder goes 0-for-2
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
While reporters surrounded Tim Lincecum one locker over, Haren, the D-backs' ace right-hander, relaxed in front of his, signing autographs for fellow All-Stars.
"I didn't send anything around this year to be signed," said Haren, who nonetheless came away with an autograph from a picture with President Barack Obama, who visited both clubhouses prior to the game.
Meanwhile 21-year-old outfielder Justin Upton, Haren's Arizona teammate, was walking around, taking in the scene.
"Just getting a chance to see all these guys," Upton said with a big smile on his face. "You don't get a chance during the regular season to spend time with these guys and get to know them. This is pretty cool."
Haren pitched the fourth inning for the NL and allowed just one hit -- a ground ball by Texas' Michael Young through the hole at shortstop.
Working in his third straight All-Star Game, Haren got Jason Bay to line to right on the first pitch. Josh Hamilton worked the count to 2-1 before flying to center and Young followed by hitting the first pitch for the single.
That brought up Aaron Hill, and the Toronto second baseman got the count to 3-2 before grounding out to short.
"It's different coming in out of the bullpen," Haren said. "It's tough to get loose, but I felt good when I was out there and tried to have as much fun as I could with it. They seemed pretty aggressive, swinging at the first pitch a couple of times. They didn't let me get comfortable. Jason Bay hit the ball pretty hard."
Haren now has worked five All-Star innings in his career and allowed just one run.
The 28-year-old was originally drafted by the Cardinals in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft and made his debut in a St. Louis uniform in 2003.
The crowd clearly remembered as Haren drew a big hand during the pregame introductions.
"It was really fun," said Haren, who walked out of the stadium carrying his young son, Rhett. "I'll be able to look back on it maybe after the season and really reflect on how special it was."
Upton stood next to former teammate Orlando Hudson in the dugout during the early innings of the game and finally got to see action in the sixth when he pinch-hit for Ryan Braun.
After taking Felix Hernandez's first two pitches for balls, Upton fouled off a fastball before grounding a 95 mph heater to short to end the inning.
Upton then remained in the game in left field, a position he has never played. The NL coaching staff asked him Monday if he had played center, and he told them not since just before being called up to the big leagues in August 2007. Since then, he has played exclusively in right. Nothing was said about him playing left until right after his groundout.
He nabbed a fly ball off the bat of Hill in the top of the seventh but had a drive by Curtis Granderson go over his head in the eighth.
"I guess they figured I could play either corner," Upton said. "I thought it wasn't going to be too big of a change, but it's definitely a different angle in left. It played a little bit different, but that ball was hit, that ball was crushed. He put a real good swing on it. I think either way, as much height as it had, he would have had a chance at three with me throwing from the wall. I think I played it right and Jayson [Werth] was there to back me up."
Upton got another crack in the ninth but grounded out to short off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.
"A couple of tough draws," Upton said. "Man, those guys are good, but I felt like I had good at-bats. It was a good time."
Both Haren and Upton got a chance to meet Obama, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
While Haren got a picture taken with Obama, Upton did not have a camera and had to settle for an autograph.
"That was a great experience," he said. "I was able to get a ball signed. That was awesome."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.