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Haren, Upton tabbed for All-Star Game

Haren, Upton tabbed for All-Star Game

DENVER -- The Arizona Diamondbacks had two players named to the 2009 National League All-Star team on Sunday.

Outfielder Justin Upton was voted in as a reserve by the players, managers and coaches, while ace pitcher Dan Haren was selected by manager Charlie Manuel.

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The D-backs have a chance to have a third player on the squad if Mark Reynolds wins the Sprint Final Vote balloting.

The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 5 p.m. MST. 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.

Haren's selection has seemed like a foregone conclusion for some time now with the more pressing question of whether he would be selected to start the game like he did in 2007 for the American League.

"I think he certainly has a case for it," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's doing a lot right. I don't know too many pitchers that have done better. I'll take Dan Haren as a starter in the All-Star Game based on what he's doing in every aspect of pitching."

It will be the third straight All-Star Game appearance for Haren, who seems to have taken his game to another level in 2009.

"His B and C level games, they are a lot of pitchers in this league's A games," Hinch said.

The game will be a homecoming of sorts for Haren, who was drafted by the Cardinals in 2001 and his first 28 big league appearances came in a Cardinals uniform.

"Every one has had a little special meaning," Haren said of his Midsummer Classic selections. "But coming up through the system in St. Louis to go back there and hopefully pitch in the game, it's going to be special for me and my family. I can't wait."

Judging Haren simply by his 7-5 record this year would be a mistake. A leaky bullpen and poor run support have cost Haren a chance for a more impressive mark. For example he had back-to-back starts on a road trip where he left with a lead only to watch the bullpen allow four runs in the eighth in one of them and five runs in the ninth in the other.

All of the other numbers that are under his control are impressive.

Heading into his Sunday start against the Rockies, Haren led the NL in ERA at 2.19. He was also atop the leaderboard in fewest hits per nine innings, fewest walks and hits per inning pitched and strikeouts/walks.

"Haren shouldn't be punished for our team failures or struggles this year," Hinch said recently. "He doesn't have the glossy win-loss record, but I don't know if there's been anybody that's been better than him this year in every aspect of pitching outside of wins and losses."

Upton was beaming after getting the news that he would be a part of his first All-Star Game.

"This is awesome," he said. "I'm just pumped about the selection and being able to go to St. Louis and being able to be a part of everything. Just the honor of being an All-Star is good enough for me."

While this is the first time Upton has been selected for an All-Star Game, he is not unfamiliar with the festivities. The 21-year-old homered in the Futures Game in 2007 in San Francisco.

"Being in that atmosphere, the amount of fans that were out, people excited about seeing the All-Stars and being in San Francisco was unbelievable," Upton said.

Selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Upton was the youngest player to appear in uniform for the D-backs when he made his debut on Aug. 2 at the age of 19.

This has been a breakout season for Upton, who entered Sunday's game against the Rockies with a .301 batting average to go with 14 homers and 45 RBIs. Among NL outfielders he was fifth with a .542 slugging percentage and his OPS (on-base plus slugging) was .922.

"It's been remarkable to watch him grow up, to watch him mature," Hinch said. "He's still developing at this point. What an accomplishment for a young player who is just trying to open up the areas of his game to dominance at this level. He's fun to manage."

Steve Gilbert 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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