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White pinch-hits for a legend
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07/16/2003  1:30 AM ET 
White pinch-hits for a legend
Outcome aside, Padre will remember All-Star debut
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Rondell White (left) chatted with Barry Bonds before the All-Star Game and later pinch-hit for the single-season home run king. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Box score

CHICAGO -- First-time All-Star Rondell White had some big shoes to fill: national stage, one out, runner on first and Barry Bonds' spot coming up in the lineup.

Then White was announced to pinch-hit for the single-season home run king in Tuesday's All-Star Game.

For White, it had to be a surreal moment. How often do you step into the batter's box in place of the legendary long ball hitter Bonds?

"I knew he wasn't going to hit anymore," White said. "But to hear, 'Now hitting for Barry Bonds, Rondell White.' I thought everybody was going to boo."

Unfortunately, White grounded into an inning-ending double play.

    Rondell White   /   LF
Rondell White
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 215
Bats/Throws: R/R

More info:
Stats
Splits
Hit chart
Tigers site

"Too bad my first at-bat was a double play," White said. "I was a little anxious. I should have taken a couple pitches."

The National Team lost the contest, 7-6, to the American League and secured home-field advantage for the World Series. Hank Blalock, pinch-hitting in his first Midsummer Classic, connected for a two-run, two-out homer to put the AL up for good in the eighth inning.

White said he thought NL manager Dusty Baker skippered a good game.

"Dusty did a great job of getting everybody in there," White said. "It was a good game. The guys were swinging the bats over there and they came through in the clutch. You've got to give them credit."

White also deserves a little credit. He was hitting .275 heading into the All-Star break. With 16 home runs and 52 RBIs in 309 at-bats, White has made incredible strides since 2002. Last season, White came up with 14 homers and 62 RBIs over the entire season for the Yankees.

Finger and hip injuries plagued White during the 2002 campaign, but his stepped-up play might make the Yankees regret the trade that sent White to the Padres in exchange for Bubba Trammell.

2003 All-Star Game

2003 All-Star Game information >

"Especially after playing last year for the Yankees with the year I had, it's great to be in an All-Star Game," White said. "Hopefully it's not my last one."

White, who knows his way around Chicago after playing with the Cubs in part of 2000 and all of 2001, got a warm welcome from the fans during the pregame introductions. He said it was nice to be in familiar surroundings.

It was equally nice to get the nod to enter the game as a pinch-hitter.

"It felt good to get my name called out," White said with a smile.

He'll head home to San Diego on Wednesday morning, arriving shortly before noon. The Padres open a homestand Thursday, but White won't have much time to relax. He and the rest of the Friars will face the division-rival Diamondbacks in the first game of the season's second half.

No rest for the weary. White said he'll probably spend the little free time he will have Wednesday prepping to face one of baseball's hotter teams of late.

But now White can go about his work with the words "All-Star" added to his résumé.

Amy Sternig is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.




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