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Arroyo to represent Reds in Pittsburgh

Arroyo to represent Reds in Pittsburgh

CINCINNATI -- Starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo wasn't even expected to make the Red Sox rotation before Boston dealt him in March.

But Arroyo has repeatedly proven to be the perfect fit for the Reds pitching staff.

The latest validation in the thriving marriage between Arroyo and Cincinnati came Sunday. The right-hander was named the club's lone representative to the National League All-Star team.

It will be Arroyo's first All-Star Game experience. The game will be played July 11 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

"Since I've been in this uniform, everything has played out nicely," said Arroyo, who named to the team in a players' vote. "Starting off as hot as I have and us being in contention like we are as a team no one expected to be here, for me to make the All-Star team was something I never expected."

Needed to bolster the rotation when the Reds acquired him from Boston in the March 20 trade for slugger Wily Mo Pena, Arroyo has been one of the season's best steals. The 29-year-old is 9-4 with a 2.58 ERA in 17 starts, including two complete games. He has worked 118 2/3 innings, which is third best in the NL.

Arroyo's success has been a key reason that second-place Cincinnati has been at or near the top of the NL Central division all season.

"Outstanding -- it's well deserved," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "He's meant everything to this ballclub with what you've seen this year. He's really helped our starters and that's [why were are] where we are, because of our starting pitching."

Arroyo planned to soak up the All-Star scene, especially during Monday's festivities that include the CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby on ESPN.

"It's an honor just to be there," said Arroyo, the first Reds All-Star starting pitcher since John Smiley in 1995. "I don't care about the performance in the game. It's an honor to wear that uniform and be able to step on the field and go through all the stuff and see some old [Boston] teammates on the other side."

Arroyo will also have the extra satisfaction of making his All-Star debut in Pittsburgh, where he began his pro career and debuted in the Majors in 2000. The Pirates let him go and dealt him to Boston before 2003.

"It's pretty cool to go back to the place where you pretty much got released from and be in the All-Star Game," Arroyo said. "That makes it a little more special. Hopefully, I won't get booed for the stuff I said in the paper earlier this year."

During a Reds series at Pittsburgh in May, Arroyo ripped the Pirates organization and front office.

"It'll probably be an out-of-town crowd, mostly. I still might get booed a little bit, who knows?" Arroyo said.

Based on his numbers and big performances, Arroyo was long considered the Reds' only lock as an All-Star. Barring any roster changes this week, he turned out to be the only Reds' All-Star, period.

Other deserving candidates like second baseman Brandon Phillips and catcher David Ross did not make the club as reserves. Neither Ross nor Phillips ascended into starting spots for the Reds until later in the season, which might have hurt their chances.

After he hit a pair of long balls in Sunday's Reds loss to Cleveland, Ross leads all NL catchers with 12 home runs season. That's despite only 110 at-bats in 41 games and not becoming a regular until early June.

Atlanta's Brian McCann entered Sunday with a .354 average in 58 games and was the players' selection as a reserve catcher. The Mets' Paul Lo Duca was elected by fans.

"I'm a career .200 hitter, so I'm not really expecting the All-Star Game or anything like that," Ross said. "I want to contribute here and help us win. I'd rather be in the playoffs than make any All-Star Game."

Phillips, who was acquired from Cleveland on April 7, was beaten out by Florida's Dan Uggla, who was named by the players. Uggla is batting .307 and his 13 homers were second only to elected starter Chase Utley's 15 among NL second basemen. Phillips and Uggla both have 44 RBIs.

"At the beginning of the season, I was at home chilling," said Phillips, who was designated for assignment before his trade to Cincinnati. "I knew I wasn't going to make the All-Star team. I'm just worried about getting the Reds into the postseason. We've got a lot of players on this team that should have made it. I'm glad Bronson made it. He's having a good season so far."

Reds center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., a 12-time All-Star elected starter, was among leaders in balloting, but finished fourth just behind third-place vote-getter Alfonso Soriano of the Nationals.

The difference between Griffey going to Pittsburgh or going on vacation was only about 16,000 votes.

"It doesn't bother me. The fans voted," said Griffey, who is batting .247 with 17 homers and 47 RBIs this season. "They wanted those guys to go. I'm happy for them."

Griffey planned to go to the Bahamas on an All-Star break vacation with his family and teammate Adam Dunn.

"I'll be doing a little bit of fishing ... a lot of fishing," Griffey said. "That's what the young ones like to do. I'll be doing that from sunup to sundown."

Mark Sheldon 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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