Reds garner three All-Star selections
Rolen, Phillips and Rhodes on roster; Votto in Final Vote
CHICAGO -- Existing technology could not measure what making the National League All-Star team meant to a pair of Reds veteran players.
It was a special day for third baseman Scott Rolen, who is going back to the All-Star Game for the sixth time. Likewise for 40-year-old reliever Arthur Rhodes, who made the team for the first time since he debuted in the Majors in 1991."I've put a lot of work into this game, busted my tail and just worked hard," an emotional Rhodes said on Sunday. "It's been an exciting year for me in the first half. To make the All-Star team, I'm excited right now. I'll go out there, enjoy myself and have fun." Besides Rolen and Rhodes, second baseman Brandon Phillips was also selected as a reserve during Sunday's MLB All-Star Selection Show. And despite having spectacular first half numbers, first baseman Joey Votto was not named to the team but is one of five candidates that can make it via the All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com and Reds.com. The All-Star Game will be played on July 13 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Having multiple All-Stars is a departure for the Reds, who have sent the minimum one player to the Midsummer Classic in each of the past five years. For Rolen, who was voted in on the players' and coaches' ballot, this is validation of a career that is back on track after the past few injury-filled seasons. Rolen was last named to an All-Star Game in 2006 while with the Cardinals but did not play. He also did not play in 2005 because of a left shoulder injury that required surgery to repair a torn labrum "As you get older and things change in your life, I'm excited for my 2-year-old son to go on the field and I'll throw a uniform on him," Rolen said. "My daughter and he can be on the field for the Home Run Derby and stuff. That's exciting for me as a dad to get the opportunity to be with my kids and share that with them." Rolen was traded from the Blue Jays to the Reds on July 31, 2009, in a four-player deal and signed an extension during the winter. The move has re-ignited his career. "It's been great for me and great for my family," said Rolen, who is from Indiana and within driving distance of his hometown. "I'm very comfortable here. I'm a big believer that if players are happy and comfortable in their situation, it brings out better performance from them." This season, the 35-year-old is among NL leaders in hitting, home runs, slugging and extra-base hits. He entered Sunday batting .302 with 17 home runs and 56 RBIs. Rolen has become a valued team leader within the Reds clubhouse and if he continues his well-played season into the second half, he could be on the radar for NL MVP votes. "He's healthy and happy, you can tell," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It's big especially at this point in his career when he's done just about everything you can do. He's having a good time with it." Phillips, a first-timer who was selected by NL skipper Charlie Manuel to replace the injured Chase Utley, came into Sunday batting .308 with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs. He caught fire in June when he batted .373 for the month with 41 hits and 22 runs scored. Last season, Phillips and Florida's Hanley Ramirez were the only Major League players to produce at least 20 doubles, 20 homers and 20 steals in three consecutive seasons. Phillips was a 30-homer, 30-steals player in 2007 and also won a Gold Glove Award that season. "Brandon has definitely played like an All-Star," Baker said. "This isn't the first year he's played like an All-Star. I think this is his best overall year." The same can be said for Rhodes, who is in his 19th big league season. Most middle and setup relievers are often overlooked, but it was too hard to gloss over the type of season Rhodes has enjoyed. "I'm extremely happy for Arthur Rhodes. That's perseverance right there," Baker said. A selection by Manuel, Rhodes tied a Major League record this season with 33 straight appearances without allowing a run, totaling 30 innings. It was snapped on June 29 against the Phillies. "I think everybody is excited for Arthur," Rolen said. "He's probably earned it many times in the past. With the selection process, it's difficult for a reliever to get selected." Rhodes entered Sunday with a 3-2 record and 1.09 ERA in 37 appearances. "It's a good day today," Rhodes said. "It means a lot to me. I did it for my little boy. I just wanted to keep playing, and try to make the All-Star team. My next goal is to try and win a World Series. If I do all that, I've got it all done." Rhodes revealed something he rarely talks about, even privately: His 5-year-old son Jordan passed away in December 2008, shortly after he signed as a free agent with Cincinnati. "He's up in heaven right now," Rhodes said. "Nobody knew about it. He's going to be there with me at the All-Star Game." Fans, having already decided the starters and this week the final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevy via the 2010 All-Star Game MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
The 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.