07/10/09 7:11 PM ET
Werth added to NL All-Star roster
Phillies outfielder replaces injured Mets star Beltran
By David Gurian-Peck / MLB.com
"Let's go, All-Star, let's go," Victorino hollered.
That's because Werth was added to the National League All-Star team on Friday as a replacement for Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran, who will miss Tuesday's Midsummer Classic with an injured right knee.
Werth joins the other two Philadelphia outfielders already on the team -- Victorino, who won the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote for the NL, and Raul Ibanez, elected as a starter by the fans. The 1995 Cleveland Indians -- with Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton and Manny Ramirez -- were the last team to have its entire outfield on an All-Star team.
The Nos. 2 through 6 hitters in the Phillies' order will be heading to St. Louis; Chase Utley is starting at second base for the NL, and first baseman Ryan Howard is a reserve.
"I couldn't be happier," Werth said. "It's an honor to go with the guys that are going. It says a lot about the character of this team."
Through Thursday, Werth had 20 homers (tied for eighth in the NL), 54 RBIs (tied for 14th) and 12 stolen bases (12th). He was hitting .268, but his on-base percentage was .373 and his slugging percentage was .522, 15th in the NL.
"Sometimes .260 can be much better than .300," said Charlie Manuel, the manger of the Phillies and the NL team. "I also take [into consideration] the skill of a guy, the things he can do, too. And Werth is very good in the outfield: he's got a great arm, he can run, he can steal a base, he can hit the ball out of the ballpark to any part of the field, he'll take a walk. There are things he can do to help you win besides hitting."
But, of course, Werth's hitting certainly helped get his manager's attention. Over his past 12 games, Werth has gone 12-for-35 (.343) with seven homers, 14 RBIs, a .537 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage. The stretch began June 27 in Toronto, when Werth hit two homers, one of which landed in the fifth deck. His blast was the first in nearly five years to reached the 500 level at Rogers Centre.
"I got some calls, I listened to what people had to say," Manuel said. "But at the same time, I was noticing Werth's production, especially about two weeks ago."
Manuel told Werth the news when the 30-year-old arrived at Citizens Bank Park on Friday. It's last minute, but Werth still expects to have family and friends on hand at Busch Stadium. He was born in Springfield, Ill., and lives about an hour north of St. Louis.
The All-Star selection is especially redeeming considering Werth's circuitous route. He was a first-round pick in the 1997 First-Year Player Draft, but was traded twice and further derailed by injuries. Only now is he getting to play full-time, and he has blossomed in the role.
"I'm on the right track still," Werth said. "I've got a lot of good years to play left in me."
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.