CHICAGO — A couple of old Pittsburgh Pirates teammates will face each other in the All-Star Game tonight. An old Mariner will have to work in relief if he's going to enter the game.
By selecting Esteban Loaiza of the Chicago White Sox to be the starting pitcher for the American League, opposing the San Francisco Giants' Jason Schmidt, AL manager Mike Scioscia went for the sentiment of a White Sox star working in his home ballpark.
He bypassed the sentiment of starting Seattle's Jamie Moyer, pitching in his first All-Star Game at age 40.
"I'm trying to be sensitive to a pitcher's career and how much gas he has between starts," Scioscia said. "For instance, Moyer threw 118 pitches in his last start (Friday against the Devil Rays), and I want to make sure he bounces back well and how I can use him."
Moyer's 12 wins match Oakland's Mark Mulder and are one more than Loaiza. Toronto's Roy Halladay leads the AL with 13 victories — all consecutive.
"It's like a deck full of aces to pick from," Scioscia said. "No way you can go wrong. I think Esteban was the guy; not only was he most deserving, but he was the freshest, ready to go. Hopefully, he'll pitch a little deeper into this game than maybe some All-Star Games. We're going to give him the ball and see how far he can go."
Moyer said he appreciated Scioscia's concern for his welfare ("He knows what's going on; I'm not getting any younger") but said he'll be able to pitch tonight. He had no complaints, however, about being skipped over for the start.
"How can there be any disappointment with being here?" he said. "It's a lot of fun. It's time-consuming and tiring, to know you have to play the second half. But I'm just hanging out and enjoying the moment. To put expectations on anything here would be totally unfair on myself.
"Esteban had a nice first half, and the All-Star Game is hosted in his hometown. What a great honor for him."
Clemens replaces surprised Zito
Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees replaced Barry Zito on the AL roster in a messy muddle that left the Oakland pitcher wondering why he was bumped off the team.
Zito said he found out about the switch while sitting with All-Star teammates in a hotel ballroom, giving interviews. The commissioner's office said the decision was made by the Athletics, who said they told the left-hander on Sunday.
Zito, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, threw 106 pitches during Oakland's 1-0 win at Baltimore on Sunday, allowing four hits in eight innings.
"We told him that it was prudent he didn't pitch and that the A's were going to have Mulder available for two innings and (Keith) Foulke available for one," Oakland manager Ken Macha said. "That was three innings from our pitching staff, and that was sufficient."
Zito will be introduced at tonight's game but will be ineligible to play.
Clemens was told of his ninth All-Star selection yesterday morning. He then made plans to jet to Chicago today.
Clemens intends to retire after this season, his 20th in the major leagues, and got his 300th win and 4,000th strikeout against St. Louis on June 13. Many of his Yankees teammates were mystified when he originally was bypassed last week.
Ichiro honored as fan favorite
Ichiro was honored on the field before the Home Run Derby for being the leading vote-getter in the fan balloting. Handed the microphone, he proved that everyone loves to imitate Harry Caray.
"Holy Cow!" Ichiro said in his best Caray voice. "I am very happy to be in Chicago. It's my honor."
Junior Mariners along for ride
The Mariners flew out to Chicago on Monday night in a chartered airplane that definitely had a youthful feel to it. On board were six children of Mariners players: Dillon Moyer, 11; Hutton Moyer, 10; Alexander Martinez, 8; Savannah Boone, 7; Jacob Boone, 4; and Kohto Hasegawa, 7.
"It was awesome," Hasegawa said. "We had a great time. I felt sorry for Ichiro. He didn't bring anyone."
Hasegawa said the kids were a bit loud on the plane, but Ichiro didn't mind.
"I had noise reduction," he said. "I was wearing headphones. ... Just looking at a player being a father, it's a very tough job."
'Run Away' Derby
Slamming the door on the Home Run Derby once and for all, Ichiro said, "I would run away from it."
He said he has participated in Japan before, "But the rules are different. You get only 10 swings."
How did he do? "Nothing happened. I did hit some, but not a significant number. Not like eight or nine."
Having his first All-Star Game be in Chicago is special to Moyer, whose career began with the Cubs in 1986.
Asked to pick a favorite Cubs memory, Moyer cited his major-league debut at Wrigley Field on May 15, 1986, when he was summoned from Class AAA Iowa.
"I can remember Dave Martinez and I got to the park late from Des Moines," he said. "We kind of hurried out to the field for the national anthem, and I was standing next to Leon Durham. I had never been to Wrigley before. It was a beautiful, sunny day.
"I put my hat over my heart, and my hand was just fluttering. Leon looked down and started laughing with a silly little laugh. He said, 'Hey, kid, don't worry, we've all been that way.' It was just like a sigh of relief when he said that."
Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.