CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Wagner an All-Star for sixth time

Wagner an All-Star for sixth time

NEW YORK -- The final All-Star pitch thrown at Yankee Stadium may be thrown by a Met. Imagine that. If the National League holds a late lead, come July 15, the responsibility of preserving it could fall to Mets closer Billy Wagner, who was named to the NL All-Star team on Sunday afternoon.

It's the sixth time in his 13 big league seasons, and the second time in his three seasons with the Mets, that Wagner has been named an All-Star.

Mets third baseman David Wright, who finished second in the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote balloting, was added to the NL team Friday as a replacement for injured Cubs star Alfonso Soriano.

More

NL manager Clint Hurdle chose Wagner for the team. Three other closers -- Brad Lidge of the Phillies, Brian Wilson of the Giants and Kerry Wood of the Cubs -- are also on the NL roster. Hurdle indicated that he had considered selecting Johan Santana as well, but he calculated that Santana probably would be unavailable to pitch for reasons of rest.

"How cool would it be to throw the last pitch in an All-Star Game in that place, with all that history?" said Wagner. "It's something you'd never forget."

Wagner, who will turn 37 on July 25, was named to teams in 1999, 2001 and '03, when he pitched for the Astros, and in '05, when he was the Phillies' closer. He is the fifth Mets closer named, following Tug McGraw ('72), Jesse Orosco ('83, '84), John Franco ('90) and Benitez ('03). Wagner pitched in the '07 Midsummer Classic, allowing a two-run home run by Victor Martinez of the Indians in the 5-4 American League victory.

Wagner nearly is on course, statistically, to match the 40-save season that he produced in 2006, his first season with the Mets. He has converted 20 of 26 save opportunities and produced an 0-1 record and 2.43 ERA in 36 appearances and 37 innings.

Wagner began the season well, pitching 18 innings without allowing an earned run.

When he saved the Mets' 5-3 victory against the Marlins on May 27, Wagner put his career save total at 368 and moved past Jeff Reardon and into sixth place on the all-time saves list. He now has 378 saves and needs 12 to tie Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley.

"I'm up there with the big boys, and I'll be proud to be introduced in Yankee Stadium," he said. "I wouldn't mind getting introduced there -- or in any American League park -- in October. I'd like to see if we can work that out."

Wright is batting .288 on the year and is leading the Mets with 17 homers and 70 RBIs.

The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less