OAKLAND -- Between doing a phone interview near a portable bathroom in the players' parking lot at McAfee Coliseum and doing a television interview in front of the A's dugout, newly appointed All-Star Justin Duchscherer spent a few minutes at his locker, insisting that Sunday's announcement came as a complete surprise.

"We haven't had more than one All-Star [since 2004]," he said before the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Mariners. "And I seriously thought that if we were only getting one again, it'd probably be [right-hander Rich] Harden."

Why?

"I thought the players would vote him in," Duchscherer said. "They can't hit him, so I thought they'd at least vote for him."

The players didn't vote enough for Harden, however, so he'll have to wait for his first All-Star selection. Duchscherer, who was one of American League manager Terry Francona's six picks, will be making his second trip to the Midsummer Classic after the A's wrap up the first half of the season Sunday against the Angels.

The first trip came at the start of Oakland's streak of solo All-Star selections, for the 2005 game at Detroit's Comerica Park. And although Duchscherer, then a setup man, went 4-1 with a 1.49 ERA in 35 games before the break, some suggested that he was selected mostly on the basis of the rule that mandates representation from every team in the game.

Duchscherer doesn't buy it.

"When I was there in the clubhouse, I looked around at the other relievers on the team and felt like I belonged," he said. "My numbers were as good or better than just about everyone in there, only I didn't have the saves. And that wasn't my fault. I was the only guy who wasn't a closer for my team."

Among 2005 AL All-Star relievers, only Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, at 1.01, had a better ERA at the time than Duchscherer. The third-best ERA in the group was B.J. Ryan's 2.52 for the Orioles.