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All-Star old guard makes way for new faces

Some of baseball's biggest stars aren't All-Stars this season.

Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez missed the cut for the July 15 game in Chicago.

Hideki Matsui, Albert Pujols and Carlos Delgado were among the new faces picked Sunday by fans.

Twenty-nine of the 63 players were first-time All-Stars, including pitcher Jamie Moyer, 40. It was the most first-timers since 30 were chosen for the 1988 game in Cincinnati.

Also among the first-timers were Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Hank Blalock, Mark Mulder and Vernon Wells.

The fresh faces aren't the only thing giving the All-Star Game a new look. After last year's messy 7-7, 11-inning game in Milwaukee, baseball decided to give the league that wins the game homefield advantage in the World Series.

"In the past, the game has been an afterthought," seven-time All-Star Alex Rodriguez said. "A lot of times by the sixth or seventh inning the guys were showered, packed up and on their way back home. Hopefully, this year, the fans are going to get a much better game with a lot more intensity."

Players, managers and coaches also had a say in the teams for the first time since 1969, and rosters were expanded from 30 to 32 per league.

Seven players were picked for their first All-Star starts, including Marcus Giles, Troy Glaus, Javy Lopez and Edgar Renteria. The Boone brothers, Cincinnati's Aaron and Seattle's Bret, also were picked.

Sosa, who had been on the past five All-Star teams and six overall, was second among NL outfielders in totals released Tuesday with 894,156 votes, trailing Barry Bonds (1,157,384) and ahead of Gary Sheffield (811,239) and Albert Pujols (793,109).

But after the final rush of voting, Pujols led with 2,030,702, followed by Bonds (1,919,116), Sheffield (1,533,278) and Sosa (1,390,355).

"Sometimes when this kind of situation happens, it happens for a reason," Sosa said. "I'm very happy for him. I'll be there next year."

Pujols had a hard time believing it.

"I was shocked because I finished fourth in the voting coming into today," he said.

NL manager Dusty Baker, Sosa's manager on the Cubs, decided to bypass his top star.

"Since Sammy wasn't voted by the players or by the fans I think it might be a good idea that Sammy use this break and go underground," Baker said.

One more chance

Fans get to choose the final All-Star in each league in an Internet vote that runs through 6 p.m. Wednesday at mlb.com. The choices:

AL NL

Byrnes, OF, Oak. Cabrera, SS, Mon.

Giambi, 1B, N.Y. Castillo, 2B, Fla.

Molina, C, Ana. Jenkins, OF, Mil.

Thomas, 1B, Chi. Patterson, OF, Chi.

Varitek, C, Bos. Santiago, C, S.F.

Up next:NL

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