All-Star Coaches Pick Reserves

— The Atlanta Braves are supplying the field, the National League manager and one-sixth of the NL roster for the All-Star game. And as a bonus, they won’t have to hit against Pedro Martinez.

Martinez, the MVP of last year’s game at Fenway Park after striking out five in two innings, was left off the American League team Wednesday, apparently at the request of the Boston Red Sox.

Martinez, whose strained muscle on his left side has improved to the point where he’s scheduled to be activate after the All-Star break, said he was ready to pitch in Tuesday’s game.

Red Sox manager Jimy Williams spoke with Joe Torre of the Yankees, manager of the AL team, but wouldn’t say who decided to drop the AL Cy Young Award winner.

“The way this has shaken out is this is the right way to do things,” Williams said.

Martinez is not on the AL’s 31-man roster, but he will be introduced as if he was an All-Star and will sit on the AL bench during the game.

“I’d hate to be the one responsible for having him pitch in an All-Star game — when he hasn’t pitched for his team — and having him get hurt,” Torre said today.

Galarraga Ready to Shine

Baltimore’s Cal Ripken, elected for what would be his 17th straight start and 18th appearance, will try to play third base despite a sore back, which has him on the disabled list. Torre said a decision would be made this weekend.

Cleveland’s Manny Ramirez, elected by fans to start in the outfield, is on the disabled list with a strained hamstring and will miss the game.

Under baseball’s rules, a player can be on the disabled list and appear in the All-Star game.

Andres Galarraga, who missed all of 1999 while undergoing treatment for cancer, heads the list of Braves ready to shine before the hometown fans.

“I thank God for giving me my health and all the beautiful and happy things that have happened to me this year,” Galarraga said. “It’s a gift.”

McGwire Joined by Teammates

Outfielder Andruw Jones and pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine also were selected by Atlanta’s Bobby Cox, the NL manager, and join Chipper Jones, elected to start at third.

Mark McGwire of the Cardinals, elected to start at first base, will be joined by two teammates, right-hander Darryl Kile and outfielder Jim Edmonds. McGwire had threatened not to play unless Edmonds was picked as a reserve.

“I’m very happy for him, he deserves it,” McGwire said. “He’s the big reason why we’re in the position we are today [first place in the NL Central].”

Will Wells Start?

With Martinez out, Toronto’s David Wells is the leading contender to start for the AL.

“If it happens, fine. If not, it’s no big deal,” Wells said. “I’m just going to go out there and take my turn. I’m sure this will mean more to me when I’m retired and an old guy.”

Cox said he hadn’t ruled out Arizona’s Randy Johnson or Maddux as starters, even though they’re scheduled to start Sunday.

“Randy said he could go an inning,” Cox said. “Greg Maddux, he also is good for an inning. Which innings those are going to be, I can’t say now.”

Thomas, Thome Angry

The Yankees and Indians have four players each on the AL team and the Chicago White Sox, who have the best record in baseball, have three along with Boston and Oakland.

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