Sunday, Mark Loretta got the news that every ballplayer at every level wants to hear at least once, when he was named one of the reserves to the National League All-Star squad. It will
be Loretta's first All-Star appearance.
Houston's Jeff Kent was voted in by the fans to start at second base. But Loretta was recognized for his solid all-around play by his peers who voted him in via the player ballot to add him to the squad for the 75th All-Star Game at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Tuesday.
Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen was the leading vote-getter in the National League. Rangers second baseman Alfonso Soriano was the leading vote-getter overall.
"That does make me feel good," Loretta said of the player vote. "I was very happy to hear that. That's really special."
Three-time All-Star David Wells said there couldn't be a better representative for the Padres.
"Ballplayers know what is going on," Wells said. "They want their own teammates to go but when a guy is having a season like that, the way he's been playing offensively and defensively, you can't help but vote for a guy like that."
The 32-year old Loretta is hitting .320, and was hottest in April when he hit .330 and again in June when he hit .343. His batting average and on-base percentage (.367) are the highest among NL second basemen with at least 250 at-bats. Loretta has also scored more runs overall (55) and has more doubles (26), than any other player at the position in the league.
"He deserves it," Ryan Klesko said. "A lot of guys over the years have had pretty good years and didn't get picked and Mark is one of those guys who has hit the ball really well over the course of his career. We're happy for him."
Loretta began his tear in June of last year and hasn't slowed since, establishing himself among the elite at his position and is tied with Reds first baseman Sean Casey for the most multi-hit games in the NL this season with 32.
"I couldn't feel happier for Mark Loretta," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's his first All-Star appearance and well deserved, well earned. He's done such a tremendous job here in San Diego. He had a great year last year and continued where he left off. He deserves to be on it."
In Spring Training, Loretta set one goal for himself: to score 100 runs. With 55 runs entering Sunday's series finale with the Royals, the 81st game of the season and halfway point, Loretta is
well on his way. Loretta's career-high is the 93 runs scored in 1999 while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Mark Loretta / 2B
Weight: 185 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
With just two second basemen to represent the NL in Houston, Loretta is certain to log significant time in the All-Star Game as the lone Padre.
"I thought there would be at least more than one on a team that is contending," Loretta said. "But the voting isn't based solely on
how guys are doing or how teams are doing. The fans deserve to see who they want to see and after that it is pretty subjective depending on manager's needs. But there were several guys (from the Padres) who could have been chosen along with me."
The NL starters are: Mets catcher Mike Piazza, Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, Kent,
Cardinals third baseman Rolen, Cardinals shortstop Edgar Renteria with Barry Bonds of the Giants, the Reds' Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa of the Cubs in the outfield.
The NL pitchers: Armando Benitez of the Marlins, Roger Clemens of the Astros, Eric Gagne from the Dodgers, Tom Glavine of the Mets, Danny Graves of the Reds, Livan Hernandez of the Expos, Randy Johnson of the Diamondbacks, Danny Kolb of the Brewers, Carl Pavano of the Marlins, Jason Schmidt of the Giants, Ben Sheets of the Brewers and Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs.
In addition to Loretta the NL reserves are: catcher Johnny Estrada of the Braves, Casey, Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, Phillies first baseman Jim Thome, Marlins third baseman Mike Lowell, Reds shortstop Barry Larkin, Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson with Moises Alou of the Cubs, Lance Berkman of the Astros
and the Marlins' Miguel Cabrera in the outfield.
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.