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Gwynn To Sit Out All-Star Game

If Tony Gwynn can't play for the San Diego Padres, he's not going to play in the All-Star game.

Although he was voted in as a starting NL outfielder, Gwynn declared himself out of next Tuesday's All-Star game at Boston's Fenway Park. He made his decision after the Padres chose to keep him on the disabled list through the break.

"This one is pretty simple," Gwynn, on the injured list for the second time this season with a strained left calf, said Tuesday. "There's a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things, and the wrong way would be to be on the DL going right into the break and then playing in the All-Star game."

Gwynn said this will be a tough one to sit out, because he wanted to play in Fenway Park.

"Once again, you're honored to be able to go and be voted in by the fans, but this time I can't. I'd rather see someone else get the opportunity to play than try to force my way in there. So I'll sit this one out and hopefully be ready to go" when the Padres open the second half at Seattle's new Safeco Field on July 15.

Gwynn, voted to his 11th All-Star starting spot and his 15th appearance overall, will still go to Boston and take part in the festivities. Although he plays right field, he'll be attracted to the landmark in left.

"I'll go to the workout, you know, take some balls off the Green Monster, just for my own sake," he said.

Fenway is the last of the classic ballparks that Gwynn, an eight-time NL batting champion, hasn't played in. He played in Detroit's Tiger Stadium, which is closing after this season, in the 1984 World Series. He made his first visit to Yankee Stadium in October and hit a home run in the opening game of the World Series.

Gwynn missed the 1996 All-Star game because of an Achilles' tendon injury, but still hobbled out for pregame introductions, his lower right leg in a walking boot.

San Diego's Bruce Bochy, who will manage the NL All-Stars, said there's still some weakness in Gwynn's calf muscle, and the team took the decision out of the player's hands.

"We'd like to have Tony healthy for the rest of the year," Bochy said. "We felt that by giving him even more time to heal up that our chances were better on clearing up this calf problem. Sure, Tony feels good, but he felt good, too, before and he had a couple setbacks."

Tony Gwynn will go to Boston but won't play in the All-Star game.>
Tony Gwynn will go to Boston but won't play in the All-Star game. (AP)

Gwynn was hurt the first time on May 21 breaking out of the batter's box and missed 19 games. He came back on June 12 and played seven games, then sat ot three. His calf bothered him as he pursued a fly ball in warmups at Dodger Stadium and went back on the DL.

Bochy said the timing would be perfect to have Gwynn back now, because some of the Padres' outfielders could use a break. But the Padres don't want to bring him back early only to see him get hurt again.

"This is how important he is to our club, to have him healthy the rest of the year, have him down the stretch," Bochy said. "We feel like if we keep playing the way we're playing, we're going to contend here."

Gwynn is just 18 hits short of 3,000, but he said it's been more frustrating missing out as the Padres rebounded from a dreadful start to climb into third place in the NL West. He had just five at-bats during San Diego's recent club-record 14-game winning streak.

"We've got a young team and we've had our ups and downs," Gwynn said. "When they're down, you felt like you could help and when you're up, you're missing out on the fun. That's been the only downer of the whole thing."

"I think people think I'm sitting here chomping at the bit trying to hurry up and get to 3,000. I'm going to get to 3,000. I'm not concerned about that. I just want to get back to what I love to do, period."

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

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