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Ordonez named to AL All-Star team

As spot opens, Ordonez Steel City bound

SEATTLE -- Until a few days ago, Magglio Ordonez had been planning on a trip to Las Vegas. His luck and his plans officially changed Friday.

What had been unofficial since Tuesday became formal Friday. Major League Baseball announced that Ordonez was added to the American League All-Star roster to replace Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez, who pulled out.

The move had been expected since Tuesday, when Ordonez told the Detroit Free Press that AL All-Star manager Ozzie Guillen called him and offered a spot on the roster. The same night, Red Sox manager Terry Francona told reporters that he expected Ramirez to sit out the All-Star Game and rest his sore right knee.

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Guillen, for his part, said on Monday that Ordonez would likely be added should any outfielder pull out. He all but confirmed Ordonez's addition in a Thursday conference call with the media, but was waiting for Major League Baseball to make the announcement on Ramirez.

That announcement came Friday afternoon. No reason was given on the press release as to why Ramirez pulled out.

The news was no surprise to Ordonez, who admitted he knew it was set on Tuesday, but received a call from Guillen. Nonetheless, it was a rewarding announcement.

"It's really special," he said Friday afternoon.

Ordonez's fifth All-Star selection might be his most rewarding of all. He was part of the Midsummer Classic four times in a five-year span from 1999-2003 before injuries -- first knee problems in 2004, then recovery from hernia surgery last year -- wreaked havoc on his past two seasons. During that time, he also left the White Sox as a free agent and joined the Tigers prior to the 2005 season.

This is the first season since 2003 that Ordonez has been healthy, and the difference shows in his numbers. He entered Friday's series opener against the Mariners with a .307 average, 15 homers and a team-best 59 RBIs in 80 games. He's on pace to at least threaten for his first .300 hitting, 30-homer, 100-RBI season since '03.

"The last two years were a nightmare for me," he said. "Coming back and going to the All-Star Game is really special. It's nice. ... I think people are now starting to realize that I'm back. If they keep thinking that I'm not ready, this shows that I'm playing good and I'm ready."

Despite those numbers, his inclusion on the All-Star roster was a major question throughout the process, moreso for the manager than the competition. Ordonez played his final season in Chicago under Guillen before leaving for Detroit, and his departure created a rift. Ordonez and Guillen traded shots in the media early last season before publicly trying to mend fences.

"The way Magglio is playing, he earned the spot," Guillen told reporters on Tuesday.

Ordonez said he didn't expect Guillen to hold any grudge against him.

"Ozzie isn't a guy who holds hard feelings from the past," he said. "That shows it's in the past. Every human being, when you talk about something, they have to react. People react. It's only human. But it's in the past."

Ordonez's addition to the roster means the Tigers -- who head into the weekend with baseball's best record, one game ahead of the White Sox -- will have three All-Stars for the first time since 1987. Concidentally, that's also the last time Detroit qualified for the postseason.

Jason Beck 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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