Wed, Jul 12, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Kenny Rogers goes from scourge to All-Star starter

CONTROVERSY Rebounding from the embarrassment of his scuffle with a cameraman last year, the top Tigers pitcher was named the AL starter for yesterday's game


Ozzie Guillen, left, manager of the American League All-Stars, talks with his starting pitcher, Kenny Rogers of the Detroit Tigers, during a news conference on Monday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Kenny Rogers has gone from all-star scourge to All-Star game starter.

The Detroit Tigers' left-hander, the top pitcher for the team with the best record in Major League Baseball, was to be on the mound for the American League yesterday against Brad Penny of the Los Angeles Dodgers, representing the National League.

Rogers was the point man to extend a nine-game AL unbeaten streak in the MLB All-Star game.

He is 11-3 with a 3.85 ERA this season, while Penny is 10-2 with a 2.91 ERA. Rogers will be ready -- he hasn't started since last Wednesday, lasting 5 2-3 innings in a victory against Oakland.

"He's well-rested," AL manager Ozzie Guillen said of the decision to start Rogers.

Penny also made his last start last Wednesday, allowing two runs in seven innings against Arizona, but also pitched one-third of an inning in relief on Sunday in the Dodgers' 3-1 win over San Francisco.

Guillen was limited in his choices as three top AL starters pitched on Sunday: Toronto's Roy Halladay (12-2), the Chicago White Sox's Jose Contreras (9-0) and Minnesota's Johan Santana (9-5). Contreras was pulled off the AL team on Monday and replaced by Minnesota rookie Francisco Liriano.

"There's a lot of guys that deserve to start, but it was unfortunate they pitched yesterday," Rogers said.

Rogers was to be the first Tigers pitcher to start the All-Star game since Jack Morris in 1985. The last time Detroit had the starting battery for the event was 1966.

It was this time a year ago Rogers was under intense scrutiny for knocking down a cameraman during a videotaped tirade.

Rogers, then with the Texas Rangers, was charged with a misdemeanor after videotape of the June 29 incident showed him walking onto Ameriquest Field in Arlington and pushing a television camera to the ground. He agreed to attend an anger management class to avoid further punishment.

"It was very difficult," Rogers said. "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hard, but I think I grew up with it and it made me a little better."

"Every challenge in my life that's come my way, I try to take advantage of anything I can learn from it and try to be better," he said.

NL manager Phil Garner on Monday unveiled a batting order which has Washington's Alfonso Soriano leading off and playing left field, followed by CF Carlos Beltran, New York Mets; 1B Albert Pujols, St. Louis; RF Jason Bay, Pittsburgh; SS Edgar Renteria, Atlanta; 3B David Wright, Mets; 2B Chase Utley, Philadelphia; C Paul Lo Duca, Mets; and Penny.

Guillen was to lead off with Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki, RF, followed by SS Derek Jeter, New York Yankees; 1B David Ortiz, Boston; 3B Alex Rodriguez, Yankees; LF Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles Angels; C Rodriguez; CF Vernon Wells, Toronto; 2B Mark Loretta, Boston; and Rogers.

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