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Four Yankees score All-Star selection

Four Yankees score All-Star selection

NEW YORK -- When the American League takes the field for this year's All-Star Game, a quartet of Yankees will be on hand as part of the festivities.

Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera were named to this year's AL roster, which will try to capture home-field advantage in the World Series for a fourth consecutive season. The game will take place at Pittsburgh's PNC Park on July 11.

"I don't know much about Pittsburgh," Jeter said. "The only thing I know is that when I was in Triple-A at Columbus, every flight we took went through there. So I know the airport pretty well."

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"I'm very proud of them," manager Joe Torre said. "Some of them may say they're tired and they want to go home; but trust me, every one of them are very proud at the fact that they're recognized for this."

A-Rod and Jeter were elected by the fans to start at third base and shortstop, respectively, beating out Boston's Mike Lowell and Baltimore's Miguel Tejada.

This marks the ninth time Rodriguez has been elected to start for the AL, his third as a third baseman after six starts at shortstop. It is his 10th overall All-Star selection. A-Rod is hitting .279 with 17 home runs and 57 RBIs in 76 games.

"I look forward to having fun representing the American League," Rodriguez said. "When so many fans vote for you, you have the responsibility to go out there and do your best."

Rodriguez has played in eight All-Star Games, going 6-for-19 (.316) with one homer and two RBIs. Last year, A-Rod went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored in the AL's 7-5 victory.

Despite the fact that he has heard more than his share of boos at Yankee Stadium over the past month, A-Rod received more than 2.6 million votes, easily outpacing Lowell by more than 1.1 million.

"The whole world isn't in New York; there are some people out there who like me," Rodriguez said. "There's always satisfaction, especially when you're not having the banner year that you're accustomed to having. I'm very proud of that."

Torre believes that the light-hearted atmosphere of the All-Star Game may help Rodriguez, who has endured a couple of prolonged slumps this season.

"It will give him a day to have fun without having to fix his problems," Torre said. "Who knows, a couple of days of batting practice and the ballgame there, he may discover something."

Jeter was not on the 2005 AL All-Star team, marking only the second time since 1997 that the shortstop did not attend the Midsummer Classic.

"It's an honor any time you get to go to an All-Star Game," Jeter said. "It's something you can't take for granted. I didn't go last season, so any time you get that opportunity, you appreciate it."

Jeter has been elected to start only once before, in 2004, when he became the first Yankees shortstop elected to start for the AL since Bucky Dent in 1981. This year, Jeter received more than 2.8 million votes, the second-highest total in the AL, beating Tejada by more than 700,000.

"It shows that the fans appreciate how you play," Jeter said. "It makes you feel good, especially when you consider how many great players there are at the shortstop position."

Jeter is hitting .334 with five home runs and 46 RBIs in 73 games this season, ranking third in the league in batting average, sixth in on-base percentage (.425) and eighth in stolen bases (15).

In his last All-Star Game, Jeter went 3-for-3 in the AL's 9-4 win in Houston. The 2000 All-Star Game MVP, Jeter is 7-for-10 in his six Midsummer Classics; his .700 average is the highest in big-league history for any player with at least 10 All-Star at-bats.

"Any time you get a chance to go, you should be honored, you should enjoy it and appreciate it," Jeter said. "You're not always going to have a chance to go."

Cano, who led in the voting at second base as recently as last week, was edged out by Boston's Mark Loretta for the starting spot by less than 100,000 votes. But the sophomore second baseman was chosen to the team by the player ballot, giving him his first All-Star nod.

"It's a great accomplishment for that young man," Torre said. "He's just been in the big leagues for a little over a year; to be voted in by the players is quite a tribute."

A hamstring injury landed Cano on the disabled list last week, so he will not participate in the All-Star Game. Cano may still attend the events in Pittsburgh, where he would be introduced as part of the pregame festivities.

"I'll still go, but I'm not playing," Cano said. "I'm disappointed that I'm not going to play, [but] I know that I'm hurt and I can't play. It's an honor to be selected."

Cano's teammates were excited to hear that the second baseman had been selected to the AL team, but disappointed for him that he wouldn't get to play in the event.

"I'm most disappointed for him," A-Rod said. "I can recall my first All-Star Game as a day I'll never forget, playing along side my childhood idol in Cal Ripken. I was really excited for Robbie to play in the All-Star Game."

"He doesn't feel his skin right now," Rivera said. "I think it's great. Everybody goes through that with the first one. It's like, 'Wow, I'm part of the All-Star team.' He deserves it."

Rivera was also chosen by the players' ballot, making the All-Star team for the third consecutive year and eighth overall. The Yankees' closer is 4-4 with a 1.84 ERA and 18 saves this season, leaving him just three saves shy of 400 in his career.

"It's great when your fellow players recognize you and give you that credit," Rivera said. "It's always a privilege and a thrill to be named to the All-Star team, to represent the Yankees and the American League."

Rivera has not allowed a run in any of his five All-Star appearances, earning the save in both the 1997 game in Cleveland and last year's game in Detroit.

"That's remarkable to begin with, to have as a long a run at this thing as he has so far and still be at the top of his game," Torre said. "Mariano is a like a regular player to us. Basically we play a whole game to get to him."

"Seeing all that talent together in one room is great," Rivera said of the All-Star experience. "Even though you don't play with a lot of those players, you know them from playing against them. It's neat to come together and play as one team."

Among the deserving candidates left off the roster was Jason Giambi, who ranks third in the AL in home runs, walks and slugging percentage, as well as fifth in on-base percentage and sixth in RBIs.

"There are a lot of people having great years," Giambi said. "It's always nice to make the game, but you can't control those things. You can only put up your numbers. It's not going to be too bad -- I get to go to Vegas."

Mike Mussina, who is 9-3 with a 3.17 ERA, was also not included on this year's team. Mussina ranks fourth in the AL in strikeouts (104) and ERA and third in opponents' batting average (.264).

"The American League this year, having nine potential World Series candidates, it's the strongest the league has been in my 12 years," Rodriguez said. "You're going to have more guys who should go because of that."

Mark Feinsand 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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