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Martinez declines All-Star invitation

Posted: Tuesday, July 02, 2002

BOSTON (AP) -- Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez will not go to the All-Star game, instead staying home so he can be better prepared to help the Red Sox in the second half of the season.

The announcement came Monday night after Martinez struck out 14 in eight innings of a 4-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. He improved his record to 10-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.85.

Martinez missed much of last season with a shoulder injury, going 7-2 in 18 starts. He rehabilitated his shoulder in the offseason rather than undergo surgery and has been relying more on his curveball this season than in the past.

He's scheduled to pitch Saturday against Detroit. The All-Star game is the following Tuesday night at Milwaukee.

''I sincerely appreciate being selected by Joe Torre for the American League All-Star team,'' Martinez said. ''I am deeply honored by the invitation, especially because of my injury last year and the road I have traveled to come back.''

But the three-time Cy Young award winner said he wants to be at his best for the second half of the season. Monday night's win left the Red Sox 1 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.

''I feel it's best to decline the invitation and open a spot for another worthy pitcher,'' Martinez said. ''There are also a few personal reasons in my life, unrelated to the game of baseball, that have played a part in my decision.''

Martinez started the 1999 All-Star game at Fenway Park and struck out five of the six batters he faced. He was named the MVP of that game but pitched only 3 2-3 innings in his next game, July 18 against Florida. He was placed on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder on July 24.



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