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Padres' Young soaking it all in

Padres' Young soaking it all in

SAN FRANCISCO -- As a first-time All-Star, Padres pitcher Chris Young has been told by his teammates who have played in the game to simply enjoy the entire experience this week.

That, presumably, didn't include avoiding a hard-charging swarm of reporters who nearly steamrolled the 6-foot-10 Young on Monday at the Westin St. Francis intent on interviewing Bonds.

"I just walked in and saw the mass media run to Bonds," said Young, looking reassured to be behind the safety of his podium and out of the way of the Bonds swarm. "I almost got run over in the stampede."

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Welcome to the All-Star Game crush, Chris Young.

It's officially been five days since Young -- who won the National League's Final Vote to earn a spot in Tuesday's All-Star Game at AT&T Park -- though it wasn't until Monday's press gathering when the immediacy of his status finally started to sink in.

"It's cool ... it's crazy looking around here seeing the names [of fellow All-Stars] on the wall," Young said. "It's somewhat surreal to me, being here. It's going to be an enjoyable experience. I think once we get out to the stadium it will set in."

Young said he is thankful to have his Padres teammates and fellow All-Stars Jake Peavy -- who will start the game on Tuesday -- and Trevor Hoffman in San Francisco with him. Between the Peavy and Hoffman, they've participated in six All-Star Games.

"I think it's helpful having Jake and Trevor here," Young said. "I'm going to follow their lead and let them show me the way. It's chaotic; it's crazy; it's fun. I'm just going to take it all in. I'm looking forward to having a lot of fun."

It's certainly been a wild ride thus far for Young, who many expected would be named to the All-Star team by the players or National League manager Tony La Russa, considering that Young leads the NL in ERA (2.00), home ERA (0.82) and opponents' batting average (.197). All that and an 8-3 record certainly made him a viable candidate.

But Young eventually earned a spot on the National League team, as he amassed over 4.5 million votes in the Final Vote online balloting, thanks in part to an outpouring of support from Peavy and Hoffman -- who videotaped messages to be played at PETCO Park -- plus computers at the stadium for fans to vote.

All-Star Game Coverage

"It's incredible -- I can't express enough gratitude to everyone," Young said. "The great measures people have gone through. I'm overwhelmed and thrilled. From the community, the organization and my teammates ... it might be even greater than just getting elected."

Oddly enough, Young probably gained more national recognition this season for his role in an on-field altercation at Wrigley Field in June after he hit Cubs' first baseman Derrek Lee. Lee and Young exchanged punches that didn't connect and each later earned five-game suspensions.

Lee, like Young, is an All-Star, though as of Monday morning the two hadn't yet spoken, though Young didn't think there would be a big deal.

"When I see him, I'll talk to him and clear the air a little bit," Young said. "I don't think it will be awkward. I heard he's a great guy, and I hope people would say the same about me. I think we can both put it behind us. I have a ton of respect for him."

Corey Brock 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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