Myers' role in ASG could boost San Diego

Last Padres position player to start for NL was Gwynn in 1999

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Wil Myers is in the All-Star Game.

But he is not in the starting lineup...yet.

Because the 87th All-Star Game next Tuesday at Petco Park was originally scheduled for an American League ballpark, American League rules will prevail. The National League is officially the visiting team. There will be a designated hitter.

American League fans vote for their designated hitters. National League fans do not. New York Mets manager Terry Collins will decide who will be the National League's designated hitter.

There are three leading candidates.

Washington second baseman Daniel Murphy leads the National League in batting average and hits and should be starting over Ben Zobrist of the Chicago Cubs. He could get the nod. Or, it could be one of the two other first basemen on the National League squad -- Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona and Myers of the Padres.

I'm pulling for Myers. And let me go on the record and say that San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Bryce Miller first floated this idea. Good job, Bryce. I couldn't agree with you more. And I further liked your thought of having Myers hit in the leadoff spot.

What a great boost for the baseball fans in San Diego.

The Padres haven't had a position player start the All-Star Game since Tony Gwynn in 1999. The last Padre to start the All-Star Game was right-handed pitcher Jake Peavy in 2007.

My hope: Myers competes in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby and then is the first hitter to come to the plate in the first All-Star Game at Petco Park.

Myers is deserving -- on more than just the statistical level. And, yes, he has statistics.

Myers is hitting .290 after Tuesday night's four-hit game in Arizona. He has 18 doubles, two triples and 19 homers. He has scored 58 runs and driven in 58. He has also drawn 35 walks in 82 games for a .357 on-base percentage to go with a .539 slugging percentage for an .896 OPS.

He has also swiped 13 bases in 15 attempts.

As Rickey Henderson once told me: "It's all about bases. Get four and you score. It's all about scoring."

Myers ranks third in the National League in runs scored. He is tied for seventh in home runs and RBIs. He is 10th with 92 hits, 13th in slugging percentage, 16th in OPS and -- for the true statistical hounds -- ninth with a 3.0 WAR.

He was, after all, the National League Player of the Month for June. And he remains hot, going 9-for-24 over the last seven games with a double, a triple, two homers, three steals, eight RBIs and nine runs scored.

Plus, Myers plays the game the way it should be played, which is why he was named the Padres Ambassador to the All-Star Game long before he was selected to the roster.

Would it not be great to see a smiling face -- on someone who truly loves the game -- in the Home Run Derby, and leading off for the National League? And isn't it great that Myers, a true ambassador for all of baseball, is a Padre?

NOTES FROM THE SCOREBOOK:

-- Fernando Rodney is returning to the All-Star Game as a member of the Miami Marlins. But 28 of his first 31 appearances this season were as a Padre, for whom he had a 0.31 ERA and 17 saves in as many chances. He should return to Petco Park wearing a uniform that is 90 percent Padres.

-- It will be interesting to see if left-hander Drew Pomeranz is added to the National League squad once some pitchers back out -- and some will. Clayton Kershaw is also a scratch due to the disabled list. And some will appear on Sunday, making them ineligible to pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game. Pomeranz has two things going for him in addition to his 2.65 ERA in 16 starts and his top-10 rankings in strikeouts-per-nine-innings and opponent's batting average. Pomeranz will already be in San Diego. And he is the perfect pitcher for an All-Star Game roster where managers need someone at the end who can work extra innings, should there be extra innings.

-- Since his batting average dropped to .103, rookie second baseman Ryan Schimpf is 6-for-17 in five games with three doubles, two homers, three RBIs and three runs scored. On the day Schimpf's average bottomed out at .103, Padres manager Andy Green said he will be getting an ample opportunity to prove himself.

-- Third baseman Yangervis Solarte is 6-for-12 over the last three games with a double, two home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored. He followed Sunday's 4-for-4 with a two-run homer at Arizona Monday night. The four-hit game was the fourth of Solarte's career. He is hitting .396 (21-for-53) over his last 15 games since June 18 with four doubles, two homers, nine RBIs and 10 runs scored to raise his batting average from .245 to .298. Solarte has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, going 17-for-41.