Sanchez is an All-Star again

Pirates 2B selected to NL roster; Gorzelanny has shot to make team

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Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez will go to the All-Star Game again this year, thanks to St. Louis Cardinal manager Tony La Russa.

And Pirates pitcher Tom Gorzelanny could join Sanchez in San Francisco, thanks to fans.

Gorzelanny is among five starting pitchers for whom fans can vote online to determine the final member of the National League All-Star team. Voting began last night and will end at 6 p.m. Thursday.

"This is my plea for people to get on the computer," Gorzelanny said. "It would be greatly appreciated. Maybe we can come up with something like, 'Send Gorzo to the Bay!' "

Gorzelanny, 8-4 with a 3.05 earned run average, faces stiff competition in his electronic campaign.

He's up against San Diego's Chris Young (8-3, 2.14), Arizona's Brandon Webb (8-5, 3.05), Houston's Roy Oswalt (7-5, 3.42) and Chicago's Carlos Zambrano (9-6, 4.20).

Sanchez, who won the National League batting championship last season with a .344 mark, didn't finish in the top eight in the second base voting.

La Russa selected him anyway.

"I'm not putting words in Tony's mouth, but it makes sense with the limited choices [the manager] has," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "Freddy's an excellent offensive player. If you need a guy to put the bat on the ball, put the ball in play, [La Russa] has a pretty good player there to do that."

"That definitely might have had something to do with it," Sanchez said. "We've played the Cardinals a lot. He knows I can play second base, shortstop, third base and that I'll do whatever it takes to win."

Sanchez missed most of the first week of the season because of a lingering spring training knee injury. He batted just .224 in April but hit .317 in May and .343 in June.

He went 0 for 4 yesterday, leaving him at .301 for the season.

Still, the news that he would be heading for San Francisco surprised him.

"I was kind of in shock," he said. "I didn't think I really had a chance. It's such an honor to be picked by a Hall of Fame manager. This is probably one of the biggest honors I can receive."

Sanchez had planned to take his family to Nemacolin Woodlands Resort during the break.

"But I think I can make it [to San Francisco]," he said, smiling.

Sanchez played five innings in last year's All-Star Game at PNC Park, winning his spot because of write-in votes. He went 0 for 2 and robbed Mark Loretta of a hit with a leaping catch at shortstop in the fifth inning.

"Last year, I was kind of in awe," he said. "I had shaky legs at the plate. I think it will be a lot easier this time."

Sanchez said he didn't vote for himself online last year.

"I didn't know how to vote," he said.

But he said he'll learn how to vote and cast some for Gorzelanny.

"Hopefully, we can get a lot of votes going his way," he said.

"I'll vote for him," Zach Duke said. "He's a good guy and a great pitcher."

"It's cool that I'm still alive," Gorzelanny said. "It's going to be fun. I'm going to enjoy this. Whatever happens, happens. I might vote a couple times, but I'll leave it up to everybody in Pittsburgh.

"I'm sure I'll be as nervous as I've ever been, but I'm going to enjoy the ride."

Gorzelanny and rotation mate Ian Snell (6-5, 2.90) both had shots at being named yesterday.

"Both guys are very deserving, no question about it," Tracy said. "I feel very strongly about those guys. They're All-Stars in my opinion. But we go through this every year. There's nothing you can do about it but live with it."

The Pirates haven't had a starting pitcher named to the All-Star team since Denny Neagle in 1995.

Not only is Barry Bonds going to the All-Star Game in his home ballpark, he will be in the starting lineup. The San Francisco Giants' star overcame a 119,000-vote deficit in the final days of balloting and finished 123,000 ahead of the Chicago Cubs' Alfonso Soriano yesterday to claim the third and final starting outfield spot for the N.L.

Peter Diana, Post-Gazette
Second baseman Freddy Sanchez was named to the 2007 National League All-Star team.
Click photo for larger image.

2007 National League All-Star Roster

2007 American League All-Star Roster


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