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BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : ALL-STAR GAME

Thomas Joins Griffey Out of AL Lineup

July 10, 1996|ROSS NEWHAN

With Ken Griffey Jr. already out of the American League All-Star lineup because of a broken bone in his right hand, Chicago White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas was scratched Tuesday because of a sprained left foot suffered five days ago.

For Thomas, the concerns went beyond the All-Star game. The White Sox trail the Cleveland Indians by two games in the American League Central.

Boston Red Sox first baseman Mo Vaughn, who has a torn ligament in his right middle finger, replaced Thomas in the starting lineup.

"I'm very concerned about this," Thomas said of his injured foot. "I'm not missing this game as a precaution. The swelling is still there and it hurts. I'm not close to being 100%. I hope to see a doctor in Chicago tomorrow and find out what's going on. We have so much talent on this [AL] team that to go out there at less than 100% would be ridiculous. There's too much at stake in the second half."

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Second baseman Roberto Alomar started for the American League despite a sprained left ring finger. Davey Johnson, his Baltimore Oriole manager, had said he hoped Alomar would skip the All-Star game to let the finger heal, but Alomar tested it in batting practice and insisted on playing.

"It's an honor to be here," Alomar said. "The fans voted for me, and it's important that I try to play and do my best for the fans, the league, the Orioles and myself."

Of Johnson's desire that he not play, Alomar said, "I'm a big boy. I can handle it."

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Tony Gwynn, with a soft cast protecting his injured right heel, was in uniform for his 12th All-Star game and said, "I was voted in by the fans and I wanted to show my appreciation. I also wanted to see Ozzie [Smith] in his last All-Star game. I know Barry [Larkin] and [Mark] Grudzielanek are going to play, but this place should rock when Ozzie goes out there.

"And who knows? This could be my last one, too, and I want to suck up as much of the atmosphere as I can.

"I mean, I love this game. It's one of the greatest experiences a player can have. It's all the little things . . . like walking in and talking to [Philadelphia relief pitcher] Rickey Bottalico, who I had never met. You can never have enough of being in an All-Star clubhouse."

Like Thomas, however, Gwynn's concerns go beyond the All-Star game. With his San Diego Padres battling the Dodgers in the National League West, Gwynn will visit a specialist in Oakland on Thursday and, perhaps, learn if his Achilles' tendon is ruptured, rather than frayed. Gwynn said he hopes to be back by early August, but a rupture would put him out for the season.

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Greg Maddux, one of a record four Atlanta pitchers selected by Braves' and National League Manager Bobby Cox, was unavailable because of a broken nail on his right big toe, incurred on a foul bunt Sunday.

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