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Rogers stays focused in All-Star outing

Rogers stays focused in All-Star outing

ARLINGTON -- On Monday, Kenny Rogers expressed his feelings regarding recent incidents in what has developed into an eventful season for the 40-year old left-hander.

On Tuesday, the crowd in attendance at the All-Star Game at Comerica Park expressed theirs.

Rogers was booed when he was introduced during pregame introductions, and again when he took the mound in the seventh inning. He allowed three hits and two runs -- including a two-run homer by Atlanta's Andruw Jones -- in one inning and was booed on his way to the dugout at the end of the inning.

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"I did not want to dwell on what was happening or what was going to happen," Rogers said of the jeers. "I tried to stay focused."

It is unclear how his appearance will affect the Rangers. The left-hander is scheduled to pitch on Thursday and continues to appeal his 20-game suspension and $50,000 fine for a run-in with two cameramen at Ameriquest Field in Arlington last month. A hearing is scheduled for July 21. Rogers, who has made two starts since appealing the suspension, will make at least two more starts before the hearing.

Arlington police issued a citation to Rogers for misdemeanor assault in the case of the uninjured cameraman and are still investigating the other case.

"The best thing for all of us is to put everything behind us," Rangers owner Tom Hicks said. "I think Kenny has done a tremendous job the last week of standing up and being responsible for his actions. I thought it was the right thing to do and I'm glad he did it. Any of us that know Kenny know Kenny is a good man and he made a mistake."

A big attraction since he arrived, part of his decision to attend the Midsummer Classic was the fact he was voted in by the players. Many also believe he earned the right and has the numbers -- 10-4 with a 2.54 ERA. He had the support of many, if not all, in clubhouse.

All-Star Game 2005

"He knew exactly what was going to happen but he still decided to come," Texas' All-Star shortstop, Michael Young, said. "Nobody wants to go out in an All-Star Game and get booed. You want cheers and have people pulling for good baseball. He came because he thought it was the right thing to do because the players voted him in and he didn't want to disappoint them."

Rogers said American League manager Terry Francona informed him he was going to pitch in Tuesday's game. And added he willingly accepted the offer, in part because the three-time All-Star did not pitch in the Midsummer Classic last season.

He also recognizes the difficulty in making the squad.

"I think at this stage of my career, it's something that is not expected from me, but I'm happy to be here," he said. "I know I've earned the right with the way I've pitched, but there's a lot other stuff going on. I didn't want this to be a distraction and I hope it hasn't been. I hope that everything that happened, we just put our attention on the game and keep our focus on that."

As for the chorus of boos, Rogers remained diplomatic in his response.

"You know, I don't hold anything against anyone," he said. "Everyone is going to say what they should do."

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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