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Phillies send three to Midsummer Classic

Phillies send three to Midsummer Classic

PITTSBURGH -- Phillies second baseman Chase Utley has been a National League All-Star starter every year since 2006.

He has been voted a starter again, but he will not play after having surgery Thursday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, which will force him to miss approximately eight weeks.

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But Utley's absence does not mean the Phillies will not be represented at the All-Star Game on July 13 in Anaheim. Phillies ace Roy Halladay and first baseman Ryan Howard also made the team, it was announced on Sunday. Halladay received 286 votes in a players vote to earn a spot. Only Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez (395) received more. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel named Howard as a reserve.

Manuel said his toughest choice for the NL roster came between Howard and Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who is having arguably the best year of any player in the league. Votto is one of five players in the Final Vote at MLB.com.

"He's my guy," Manuel said, asked why he chose Howard over Votto. "He's my player. My guy."

Utley beat Atlanta Braves second baseman Martin Prado by a wide margin to win the fan vote. Utley received more than 3.6 million votes to Prado's 2 million, but Prado received more player votes (472) than Utley (276).

Prado will start in Utley's place.

Utley would have become the first NL player to start in five consecutive All-Star Games since Mike Piazza started six consecutive games 1994-99. No NL second baseman had started five consecutive All-Star Games since Ryne Sandberg started eight straight from 1986-93.

Utley's offensive numbers are down compared to seasons past, but he still ranked amongst the best second basemen in the league. He entered Saturday ranked first in on-base percentage (.385); third in RBIs (37); fourth in home runs (11); and fifth in hitting (.278), slugging percentage (.468) and runs (49).

But there is no question Utley has been the most dominant second baseman in baseball since he became an everyday player in '05. He leads all second basemen in baseball in runs (594), home runs (154), RBIs (534), walks (369), on-base percentage (.390) and slugging percentage (.532); and second in hits (936).

Halladay is 9-7 with a 2.42 ERA. The Phillies have scored just 12 runs for him in his seven losses. He ranks sixth in the league in ERA. He ranks first with six complete games, one of which was a perfect game on May 29 against Florida.

This is Halladay's seventh All-Star selection and first in the National League. He said he will enjoy this one more than last year's selection, when he represented the Toronto Blue Jays. Halladay was the subject of major trade speculation before last year's Trade Deadline.

"Last year it became more of a trade thing than anything," he said. "I'm looking forward to it. I think the more you go the more you realize the chances of going again are probably getting smaller. I think you try to soak it all up."

Halladay said he has enjoyed his previous All-Star appearances, and he said he enjoys them because his sons, Braden and Ryan, can attend the festivities and hang in the clubhouse.

"Derek Jeter talked to my son [Braden] a few years ago," Halladay said. "That's something he'll remember the rest of his life. You're around a lot of these guys every day, but the kids don't have that opportunity. And when they do, it means a lot to them. Obviously, [Jeter] is one of his favorites. I had a locker next to him, so he sat and stared at him for about 20 minutes."

Howard is fourth in the league with 58 RBIs, 10th in homers (15), 14th in slugging percentage (.506), 18th in average (.296) and 20th in OPS (.859).

"It feels good," Howard said. "It's a great honor to be selected to play in an All-Star Game. I just want to go out there and represent my team and the National League the best I can."

Howard said he will not participate in the Home Run Derby, which he won in Pittsburgh in '06.

"I'm going to shut it down," he said. "Just relax."

Todd Zolecki 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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{"content":["all-star_game" ] }
{"content":["all-star_game" ] }