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Picking all-stars still a hit-or-miss effort in baseball
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 7/7/2009 12:14 AM

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Scouting report

White Sox vs. Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field

TV: Comcast SportsNet today and Thursday; Channel 26 Wednesday

Radio: WSCR 670-AM

Pitching matchups: The Sox' Mark Buehrle (8-2) vs. Jeremy Sowers (2-6) today at 7:11 p.m.; Jose Contreras (3-7) vs. Aaron Laffey (3-1) Wednesday at 7:11 p.m.; Clayton Richard (3-2) vs. David Huff (4-4) Thursday at 1:05 p.m.

At a glance: Richard, who pitched just 32/3 innings in Sunday's loss at Kansas City, comes back on three days' rest vs. the lowly Indians. That sets up John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Buehrle for the big series at Minnesota this weekend, which wraps up the first half of the season. The White Sox are coming off a 5-2 road trip to Cleveland and K.C. The Sox swept the Indians at Progressive Field last week, and rookie third baseman Gordon Beckham was 8-for-11 with a home run and 5 RBI in the three-game series. Laffey comes off the disabled list Wednesday. He has been out since late May with a strained oblique.

Next: Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome, Friday-Sunday

The NFL has the Pro Bowl, where the best players from the NFC square off against the best players from the AFC in Hawaii after the Super Bowl.

Name the winner and/or MVP of last year's game and win a major prize!

The NBA All-Star Game? Is it still first team to 200 points wins?

The NHL All-Star Game? Is it still first team to 20 goals wins?

Pro football, basketball and hockey have plenty of superstar players, but they still haven't figured out a way to properly showcase them.

And as for any controversy over players being snubbed from all-star games in these sports, it rarely - if ever - seems to happen.

Major-league baseball still is the star of stars when it comes to pitting its best players in a game that matters, but that doesn't mean it's a smooth process.

Even with fan balloting, player balloting, manager selections and Internet voting, somebody always seems to get left out.

Only one White Sox player made the cut during Sunday's selection process: starting pitcher Mark Buehrle (8-2, 3.09 ERA).

Considering the workhorse left-hander ranks second in the AL in win percentage (.800), fourth in WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched) at 1.12, sixth in wins and seventh in ERA, Buehrle clearly deserves to go to the July 14 Midsummer Classic in his hometown of St. Louis.

As for the snubs, Jermaine Dye is the most obvious.

During the off-season, Dye was all over the trade-rumor map and reportedly was headed to Cincinnati for underachieving Reds pitcher Homer Bailey.

Try to imagine where the Sox would be without their 35-year-old right fielder.

In addition to playing his best defense in years, Dye is batting .291 and leads the White Sox in home runs (20) and RBI (51).

At the very least, Dye figured to be one of the five AL players nominated for the final roster spot through fan Internet voting.

Instead, it's the Angels' Chone Figgins (.312, 24 stolen bases through Sunday), the Tigers' Brandon Inge (.269, 19 HR, 54 RBI), the Rangers' Ian Kinsler (.253, 19 HR, 51 RBI), the Blue Jays' Adam Lind (.310, 18 HR, 57 RBI) and the Rays' Carlos Pena (.231, 23 HR, 55 RBI).

Lind is a solid choice, but it can be argued Dye is a better choice than the other four, especially Pena. The Tampa Bay first baseman is a proven power hitter, but his batting average is awful and Pena ranks among league leaders with 104 strikeouts.

As for selections that already have been made, the Tigers' Curtis Granderson is a real head-scratcher.

Just about everyone knows the Chicago native is a great guy, but Granderson is batting just .256 (he also has 18 HR and 43 RBI). And over his last eight games, Granderson is 4-for-29 with 10 strikeouts.

OK, let's just say Dye was more deserving.

What about White Sox closer Bobby Jenks?

The big right-hander ranks fifth in the AL with 19 saves, but Jenks' ERA is a little high at 3.14.

You can say he's more effective than rookie Andrew Bailey (9 saves, 2.03 ERA), but the Oakland Athletics needed one all-star and Bailey got the nod.

What about rejuvenated outfielder Scott Podsednik?

Released by the Colorado Rockies at the end of spring training, Podsednik has energized the Sox' offense while batting .311 with 3 HRs, 21 RBI and 12 stolen bases.

He has been a great story, but Podsednik didn't join the White Sox until May 1, so he never was considered a serious all-star selection outside of Chicago.