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Bell Tops Biggio For NL Start

Arizona second baseman Jay Bell overtook Craig Biggio on Tuesday and joined Diamondbacks third baseman Matt Williams in the National League's starting lineup for next week's All-Star game.

The second-year Diamondbacks are the only NL team with two players in the starting lineup.

Mike Piazza of the New York Mets will be at catcher, Mark McGwire of St. Louis at first and Barry Larkin of Cincinnati at shortstop.

Chicago's Sammy Sosa, Colorado's Larry Walker and San Diego's Tony Gwynn were elected to start in the outfield. Gwynn, elected to his 15th All-Star game and 11th starting spot, is on the disabled list because of a calf injury. Gwynn has been taking batting practice and might be activated in time to play in the July 13 game at Boston's Fenway Park.

Bell, who trailed Biggio 697,326 to 658,407 in totals announced last week, finished with 1,203,902, about 32,000 ahead of his Houston rival, who wound up at 1,171,574.

Before this week, none of the votes cast on the Internet had been included in the weekly totals. Fans were allowed to vote up to 22 times on the Internet -- the average number of home games for each team during the balloting.

Larkin, who led New York's Rey Ordonez by fewer than 10,000 votes last week, won by a wide margin, 858,203 to 799,858. Larkin will be making his 10th All-Star appearance, his fourth as a starter.

Jay Bell is is one of two Diamondbacks in the NL starting lineup.  <b>
Jay Bell is is one of two Diamondbacks in the NL starting lineup. (AP)

Sosa, a three-time All-Star but a first-time starter, led all NL players at 2,315,204, picking up nearly 1 million votes in the final week of counting. He was followed by Walker at 1,147,524 and Gwynn at 1,054,785. San Francisco's Barry Bonds was fourth at 732,765.

Walker will be making his fourth appearance, his third straight as a starter.

Piazza will be going to his seventh straight All-Star game and is starting for the sixth consecutive time. McGwire, an 11-time All-Star, is starting for the seventh time.

Williams, a five-time All-Star, returns to the game for the first time since 1996 and will make his fourth start. For Bell, it's his second appearance and first start.

AL starters were announced Monday. The lineup includes Cleveland's Roberto Alomar at second base, Jim Thome at first, and Manny Ramirez and Kenny Lofton in the outfield. They will be joined by Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez, Boston shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, Baltimore third baseman Cal Ripken, Seattle outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. and Tampa Bay designated hitter Jose Canseco.

Pitchers and reserves for both leagues will be picked Wednesday.

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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