Capuano completes All-Star trio

Capuano completes All-Star trio

PITTSBURGH -- For the first time in more than 20 years, more than two Milwaukee Brewers have been named to an All-Star team. And the third man in for 2006, Chris Capuano, had largely given up hope for his first All-Star appearance.

Capuano joins left fielder Carlos Lee and closer Derrick Turnbow to make this the largest Milwaukee contingent at an All-Star Game since 1983. There is no doubt that Capuano's work (10-4 with a 3.21 ERA) merits All-Star status. But the selection process left him with plenty of doubts, repeatedly.

"The whole week has been just a crazy rollercoaster," Capuano said Monday during the All-Star interview session. "Before they picked anyone, I thought: 'Hey, maybe I've got a shot.' Then I had my worst outing of the season in Minnesota a couple of Saturdays ago and they picked the team Sunday.

"So I found out I didn't make it then and I thought: 'OK, I can just enjoy my All-Star break and try to have a good second half.' Then I found out I was in the running for the [Final Man] voting. So I said: 'OK, here's another chance.'

"As you know, I finished second in that voting to Nomar [Garciaparra]. I said: 'OK, I'm fine with it, I'm going to [Cape Cod] -- enjoy myself, come back for the second half.'

"But then I see that Pedro [Martinez] went down and they need a replacement. So OK, maybe I'm going to go now. And then I found out that wasn't going to happen because they took Roy [Oswalt]. Then it was over. I said: 'It's over, my plans are set in stone now.'

"So Sunday, I'm out in the outfield playing catch during batting practice, the game's not far away, and I see our manager, Ned Yost, just walking across the outfield. It's very strange for the manager to be walking in the outfield. He says: 'Tom Glavine's not going to throw. How'd you like to go to Pittsburgh?'

"I didn't even know how to react at that point. I needed an hour. I didn't know how to react. I was like shell-shocked; so many changes of mindsets and changes of plans."

Just one hour after the Final Man voting was announced, Capuano had a game to pitch against the Cubs. He may have been disappointed, but he threw a shutout.

"At that point, I had to clear my head and say: 'This is the most important thing -- what's going on in our clubhouse, what's happening here in Milwaukee -- I've got to focus on that.'

"But when they had to find a replacement for Pedro, those feelings of excitement started to come back. When that didn't happen, I was back to 'this is definitely done now.'

"Now, this is an unbelievable honor. But just having my name tossed around with the rest of these guys was a pretty good compliment."

Lee is the only repeat All-Star of the three. In the final year of a contract, Lee spent much of his interview time assuring questioners that he wanted to remain with the Brewers.

"We [have] got a great team, a great clubhouse, the fans are pretty good, there's no reason for me to try to go someplace else," Lee said Monday. "If I have to choose where I'm going, I'll stay with the Brewers."

One of the reasons Lee feels that way is that he likes the direction of the team. Asked about the three All-Stars for the Brewers, he replied: "I would say for the years to come, there will probably be a lot more."

Turnbow, in his first All-Star appearance, said he was hoping to use this experience to pick the brains of veteran All-Star closers. Apart from that, he said that being selected for the team was beyond description.

"Honestly, I still can't believe it," he said. "I could say every word in the book and it probably still wouldn't describe [how] fortunate I am to be here and just how overwhelming it really is. I don't know how to describe it. I just want to suck it all in and enjoy it. I may never get back here."

The Brewers got back, at least to the level where they had three All-Stars, all of them here on merit.

Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.