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Notes: Cabrera may get All-Star spot

Notes: Cabrera may get All-Star spot

ARLINGTON -- Maybe Orlando Cabrera will play in Tuesday's All-Star Game after all.

That has surfaced as a possibility in the aftermath of the hamstring strain suffered by leading vote-getter Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees' slugger might elect to participate in the festivities in San Francisco, but skip the game.

A-Rod's absence would turn third base for the American League over to Boston's Mike Lowell, chosen as the backup at the position. No other AL third baseman has put together a season rivaling that of Cabrera. The Angels' shortstop took a .332 average into Thursday night's game against the Rangers and has led the league in fielding at his position all season.

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There are three shortstops on the AL roster -- starter Derek Jeter and reserves Carlos Guillen and Michael Young. Guillen has played third base in the past, and the versatile Young is capable of playing any infield spot.

Asked when he last played third, Cabrera grinned and said, "Winter ball, with my team [in Colombia], last winter. Yeah, that is no problem. But let's wait, OK?"

Cabrera never has appeared in an All-Star Game. The Angels, who have three players on the AL roster, have expressed disappointment over Cabrera's omission from the team since the rosters were announced on Sunday. Another disappointment came on Thursday when pitcher Kelvim Escobar did not win the Final Vote, which went to Boston relief pitcher Hideki Okajima.

Vladimir Guerrero, third leading overall vote-getter in the Majors behind A-Rod and Jeter, will be joined by pitchers John Lackey and Francisco Rodriguez in San Francisco. All three have addressed their disappointment over Cabrera's snub.

"He's got the numbers to back him up," Guerrero, an All-Star for the eighth time, said through Jose Mota's translation. "To me, he's an All-Star -- no way around it."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia pointed out that shortstop Omar Vizquel was named to the AL team one year and played second base.

"Orlando would have no trouble moving over if he had to play third," Scioscia said. "I think it's such an honor. Yeah, go for it. Orlando belongs on that team."

Derby 'up in the air' for Vlad: Guerrero did not discount the possibility that he would participate in the Home Run Derby, if asked. He said he's waiting to hear from his representatives, adding, "It's still up in the air. We're leaving the possibility open."

Guerrero has 14 homers, and his 74 RBIs are second only to A-Rod's 80 in the Majors. Vlad has had at least 25 homers in all nine of his Major League seasons with a high of 44 in 2000. That was the only year he appeared in the Derby, bowing out early in Atlanta.

Asked if the event adversely impacted his swing, a common complaint of players, Guerrero said, "It didn't mess up my swing. I didn't last long enough to do that."

Guerrero crushed a memorable homer against the Dodgers' Brad Penny in the second inning of last year's Midsummer Classic in Pittsburgh, his first All-Star blast.

"It was the only thing I'm able to do -- swing hard when I see it," Guerrero said of the opposite-field rocket launched on a premium Penny fastball in the upper 90s. "I've faced Brad Penny in the past. It was a special feeling, because of the circumstances."

Mota honored: The son of former Major League star Manny Mota, Jose Mota, is carving out a successful career in broadcasting after playing in the Majors with the Padres in 1991 and the Royals four years later.

Employed by FOX Sports Net and the Angels as a play-by-play man, Mota will be a busy presence at the All-Star Game. He'll work the American League dugout during the telecast, interviewing players and offering insights with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver calling the action.

"This is a great honor," Mota said. "The All-Star Game has great meaning, especially being in San Francisco, where my dad started his career with the Giants. My first All-Star memory is from '73, when Sparky Anderson picked my dad to play in the new Royals Stadium in Kansas City. I remember my mom and dad talking about the fountains. He still has the wall clock they gave him for being in the game. It's in his office in the Dominican Republic."

This will be Mota's fifth All-Star Game as a member of the media. He was the MC for the Celebrity Hitting Challenge in 1999 in Boston. He'll MC the Monday morning press conference involving the game's managers, among other duties in San Francisco.

Aybar surgery: Scioscia said Erick Aybar's surgery for the removal of the hook of the hamate bone from his right wrist went well on Thursday, and the versatile infielder/outfielder is expected to be out for six to eight weeks.

Up next: Bartolo Colon (6-4, 5.79) faces Andy Pettitte (4-6, 3.77) in the first of three games at Yankee Stadium on Friday at 4:05 p.m. PT.

Lyle Spencer 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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