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All-Star experience a treat for LA trio

All-Star experience a treat for LA trio

ST. LOUIS -- Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley sat in front of his locker with a big smile plastered on his face as he looked around at his All-Star teammates.

"It's great just to be here," said Billingsley, whose locker was next to the Giants' Matt Cain. "Not everyone gets this chance. I'm just taking it all in."

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On the other side of the room, second baseman Orlando Hudson was, as usual, talking with anyone and everyone all the while taking delight in the wide eyes of first-time All-Stars Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton.

"They've had a lot of fun and I'm happy for them," said Hudson, who made his second All-Star appearance. "I'm glad I'm here to be a part of those two guys' first chance. They are young studs, I'm telling you. Getting to see them experience their first All-Star Game is great for me, too. They ain't missing a beat, they've been on everything, they've enjoyed it."

And so, of course, has Hudson, who took particular delight in the State Farm Home Run Derby championship of Milwaukee's Prince Fielder.

"Watching my boy Prince win it was awesome," Hudson said. "I picked him to win it. Watching Nelson Cruz almost hit one out of the stadium, dang, that boy has power I can only dream of."

Billingsley came into the game -- a 4-3 loss for the National League -- in the fifth in relief of Dan Haren.

"It brought back some memories from '07 coming out of the bullpen," Billingsley said. "It was definitely different, but it was a fun experience and awesome being out there."

The right-hander allowed a single to Carl Crawford to start the inning and then got Ichiro Suzuki to ground into a fielder's choice.

Derek Jeter followed by grounding into a fielder's choice and it appeared the Dodgers' ace might be able to escape the inning unscathed. Instead, Joe Mauer lined a 2-2 fastball down the left-field line for a double as Jeter came all the way around from first to tie the score at 3.

"Joe Mauer man, that's why he's hitting around .400," Billingsley said. "He didn't try to do too much with that, just went the other way with it and Derek scored from first."

Billingsley then got Mark Teixeira to ground out to end the inning.

Hudson got into the game in the sixth when he pinch-hit for Chase Utley. The at-bat did not last long, though, as Hudson hit a 92 mph first-pitch fastball from Felix Hernandez into right field where Adam Jones pulled it in.

In his second at-bat in the eighth, Hudson also hit the first pitch, but this time he had more success as he grounded a 96 mph fastball from Joe Nathan back up the middle and just off the tip of the glove of a diving Jason Bartlett at short.

Adrian Gonzalez advanced to third on the play and Hudson wound up stealing second, which gave pinch-hitter Ryan Howard a chance to tie or put the NL ahead. Howard, though, struck out.

Broxton did not see action because he was scratched from the NL roster due to an irritated nerve in his right big toe. He did, however, get to take part in all the festivities and was included in the pregame introductions.

"It was a great experience, and if I ever make it again, I'll know what to expect," he said. "It was fun going around and seeing some people. It was fun to get out there on the field and see all the stuff that goes on out there."

During the All-Star Red Carpet Show presented by Chevy, Hudson bantered back and forth with the large crowd that stood along the road.

"The red carpet was unbelievable," he said. "I was having fun with the fans, telling them that I would be back in a couple of weeks to sweep the Cardinals. It's a beautiful setting the way baseball has set it up."

All three Dodger players got to meet President Barack Obama, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch and visited both clubhouses before the game.

"I shook his hand and he signed me a ball and everything," Hudson said. "Meeting Obama, he's the man. I'm looking forward to meeting him again sometime soon."

Nerves got the better of Billingsley when Obama walked in the room.

"I haven't been nervous meeting a whole lot of people, but I was nervous meeting him," Billingsley said. "I got to shake his hand and everything. It was awesome. I got his autograph. Quite a few guys were lined up to get it. It's a good one to have."

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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