Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Pedro declines All-Star invitation to rest arm

Interleague play drew big crowds

The Associated Press

        BOSTON — Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez will not go to the All-Star Game, instead staying home so he can be better prepared to help Boston in the second half of the season.

        The announcement came Monday night after Martinez struck out 14 in eight innings of the Red Sox's 4-0 win over Toronto. He improved his record to 10-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.85.

        Martinez missed much of last season with a shoulder injury, going 7-2 in 18 starts. He rehabilitated his shoulder in the offseason rather than undergo surgery and has been relying more on his curveball this season than in the past.

        He is scheduled to pitch Saturday against Detroit. The All-Star Game is next Tuesday in Milwaukee.

        “I am deeply honored by the invitation, especially because of my injury last year and the road I have traveled to come back,” Martinez said.

        But the three-time Cy Young award winner said he wants to be at his best for the second half of the season.

        “I feel it's best to decline the invitation and open a spot for another worthy pitcher,” Martinez said. “There are also a few personal reasons in my life, unrelated to the game of baseball, that have played a part in my decision.”

        Martinez started the 1999 All-Star game at Fenway Park and struck out five of the six batters he faced. He was named the MVP of that game but pitched only 3 2-3 innings in his next game, July 18 against Florida. He was placed on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder on July 24.

        INTERLEAGUE: Attendance for interleague games was up almost 20 percent from levels for in-league contests.

        Figures released by the commissioner's office showed total attendance of 8,022,524 for 251 games between the two leagues, an average of 31,962 per game and 19.7 percent higher than the season average of 26,705 for non-interleague games.

        The National League had a 129-122 edge over the American League this season and has a 726-717 edge over six seasons of interleague games.

        BRAVES: Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton returned to work as an Atlanta Braves broadcaster Monday, less than a month after he had surgery to remove a cancerous kidney.

        A growth was discovered during routine tests in May, and doctors later discovered it was malignant. Sutton was supposed to miss 4-to-6 weeks, but returned earlier than expected because his recovery was going so well.

        CARDINALS: St.Louis, struggling on its final homestand before the All-Star break, juggled its bullpen by optioning struggling right-hander Gene Stechschulte to Triple-A Memphis and recalling right-hander Mike Crudale from Memphis.

        Stechschulte, 6-2 with a 4.78 ERA, is coming off two dismal outings.

        He loaded the bases with no outs in the 11th inning of a 7-2 loss to Milwaukee on Thursday, then gave up a two-run home run to Aaron Boone in the ninth inning of Sunday's 12-8 loss to the Reds.

        Crudale, beginning his third stint with the Cardinals this year, was 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA and six saves at Memphis.

        INDIANS: Infielder Ricky Gutierrez was activated off the disabled list after going 3-for-6 for Cleveland in an exhibition win over its Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons.

        “He swung the bat pretty good. He hit some balls hard. He did OK,” Indians manager Charlie Manuel said in announcing that Gutierrez was going to be activated in time for Tuesday's game at New York against the Yankees.

        Manuel, however, wouldn't say when the second baseman would return to the starting lineup. Monday's game was Gutierrez's first appearance since being placed on the disabled list on June 16 because of a strained groin.

        Manuel announced more good news, announcing that outfielder Matt Lawton would be ready to start against the Yankees after missing almost a week with a sore shoulder.

        Limited to designated hitter duty, Lawton had a double in three at-bats and scored twice.

        Gutierrez had three singles and also flied out to the warning track in getting six at-bats in the seven-inning contest. As happens occasionally in spring-training games, Manuel elected to have Gutierrez lead off in each of the last five innings.

        It was tiring, but it felt good, Gutierrez said.

        “I was running out of the gas at the end. If we played a couple of more innings, I don't know,” he said. “It was nice for me to come in here and get a couple of at-bats, a lot of at-bats at that. It was real good for me. A good test.”

        Gutierrez added that he felt no pain running the bases.

        Manuel said Bill Selby was optioned to open a roster spot for Gutierrez.

        Lee Stevens, acquired in last week's deal that sent Bartolo Colon to Montreal, led the Indians with three hits, including a three-run homer in the sixth, which rallied Cleveland back from a 3-1 deficit to a 4-3 win.

        The game was Cleveland's first opportunity to see shortstop Brandon Phillips, also acquired in last week's six-player deal with Montreal.

        Phillips sparkled defensively in the first inning, bolting hard to his left to run down a slow hopper and threw out Lawton. Phillips, who's 2-for-10 in three games with Buffalo, struggled at the plate, going 0-for-3, including two strikeouts.

        Also featured was pitcher Jake Westbrook, who started for Cleveland. Westbrook, coming off elbow surgery, has had only three starts at Double-A Akron this season.

        After giving up three runs on five hits in the first two innings, Westbrook settled down, not allowing a hit over the next four innings. He also struck out six.

        RED SOX: Boston right-hander Frank Castillo dropped his appeal of a five-game suspension Monday and isn't expected to miss a start.

        for the Boston Red Sox.

        Castillo pitched Sunday before the Red Sox began a four-day, five-game series Monday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.

        The teams have a day-night doubleheader Tuesday scheduled because of a rainout. Castillo (5-8) would take his regular turn Friday night when the Red Sox start a three-game series against Detroit.

        Castillo was suspended June19 in San Diego after arguing a balk call made by three umpires. After the next batter drove in a run, Castillo yelled at third-base umpire Bill Welke and was ejected. He then rushed at Welke and stepped on the umpire's foot. Welke jumped back and Castillo was restrained by teammates. Castillo said stepping on Welke's foot was an accident.

        Castillo appealed the suspension June 25, and the Red Sox lost both games he pitched since then.

        It was the second suspension for the right-handed pitcher this season. On May 7, he was suspended for five games for hitting Randy Winn of Tampa Bay with a pitch after Devil Rays pitcher Ryan Rupe hit Nomar Garciaparra and Shea Hillenbrand with pitches. No players were ejected.

        Castillo served that suspension.

        ROCKIES: Colorado placed infielder Greg Norton on the 15-day DL because of a strained hamstring and called up utility player Ross Gload from Triple-A Colorado Springs.

        Gload hit .318 with 12 homers and 43 RBI in 64 games with the Sky Sox. Colorado Springs.

        TWINS: The Minnesota Twins purchased the contract of left-handed pitcher Jose Rodriguez of Triple-A Edmonton on Monday to take Matt Kinney's place on the roster.

        Kinney was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday because of a sore right shoulder.

        Kinney was 2-7 with a 4.64 ERA in 14 appearances in 2002, including 12 starts. He was called up from Triple-A Edmonton after starters Joe Mays and Brad Radke were injured earlier this year.

        Rodriguez did not have a decision in four appearances with Edmonton. He struck out six and walked one. He was signed as a free agent by the Twins on June 19.

        General manager Terry Ryan said Juan Rincon will likely take Kinney's place in the rotation.


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- Pedro declines All-Star invitation to rest arm
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