Pence joins Tejada as Astros All-Stars
Right fielder headed to first Midsummer Classic
SAN FRANCISCO -- Miguel Tejada was able to take only a few steps inside the visitor's clubhouse at AT&T Park on Sunday morning before he was met by teammate Hunter Pence, who gave him a congratulatory hug.The Astros teammates will also now be teammates for the National League after they were selected as reserves for the July 14 All-Star Game in St. Louis. It's the sixth All-Star Game selection for Tejada and the first for Pence.
"It's very exciting," Pence said. "It's hard to believe, and I'm just honored."Tejada and Pence, who were selected in voting by their fellow players, found out earlier Sunday when general manager Ed Wade called them to give them the news. And there were handshakes and hugs all around when they arrived at the ballpark for Houston's series finale against the Giants. "I think it's awesome," said Astros five-time All-Star Lance Berkman said. "I know Hunter's going to be excited. Both are well-deserving and they've played real good for us in the first half. It's just great. Everyone should get to go to at least one All-Star Game because they're a lot of fun. I'm sure Hunter will get to go to many more. It's a blast." The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. CT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game. Tejada, 35, entered Sunday leading the NL in multi-hit games (32) and three-hit games (eight) and was tied for first in doubles (26) and hits (103) with NL starting shortstop Hanley Ramirez of Florida. Tejada also ranked eighth in batting average (.325) and had six homers and 42 RBIs. "It's real special because I'm not what I used to be, you know?" Tejada said. "It's special because there are so many good shortstops in the league, and for me to make it is special. There are a lot of superstars at that position." Tejada, who made the American League All-Star team in 2002 with Oakland and 2004-2006 with Baltimore, represented the NL last year for the Astros and went 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base and a run scored. The 2002 AL Most Valuable Player is a career .400 hitter in the Midsummer Classic, including a homer in his only start in 2005, when he was named the All-Star Game MVP. "I never expected to make the All-Star Game," Tejada said. "There are so many good players in the league. No matter how good you did in the first half, you can't expect to make it. Every time I made the All-Star team I never expected it because there are so many good shortstops in this game." Pence, 26, will be making his first All-Star Game appearance in his second full season in the Major Leagues. He entered Sunday hitting .303 with 10 homers, 33 RBIs and eight stolen bases as Houston's high-energy right fielder. "I'm somewhat surprised," Pence said. "I knew I had played well, but there's a lot of people that are deserving and just as deserving of it as I am. I'm very grateful and very happy that I'm going to be a part of the team." Drafted by the Astros in the second round in 2004, Pence broke into the Major Leagues in 2007 and led the NL in batting average at the All-Star break as a rookie and wound up finishing third in NL Rookie of the Year voting. He has reached double-digit home runs in each of his first three seasons in the big leagues. "Everyone's excited," Pence said. "I called all my family members and they're happy and proud. Right now I'm going to worry about playing with the Astros, but when that time comes, I'm going to help the National League hopefully get a victory." Pence is one of six NL outfielders picked for the team, joining starters Carlos Beltran of New York, Ryan Braun of Milwaukee and Raul Ibanez of Philadelphia, along with fellow reserves Brad Hawpe of Colorado and Justin Upton of Arizona. Pence is the first Houston outfielder to make the team since Carlos Lee in 2007. Tejada and Berkman represented the Astros at the All-Star Game last year, with Berkman starting at first base for the NL at Yankee Stadium. "Miggy's had a wonderful first half and has been an All-Star his entire career and is definitely deserving and played well," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. "He's kind of the sparkplug of our team, kind of the lightning rod of our team. Everybody gets excited when he gets excited. "And Hunter, that's a new beginning. That's great for him. He's pretty excited. We talked earlier this morning and he was all smiles and giggly. That's great. I'm just tickled for him because I think it's going to be the first of many. He's shown he belongs."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.