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Notes: Selections raise eyebrows
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07/04/2004 11:01 PM ET
Notes: Selections raise eyebrows
Players, coaches disappointed with one representative
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Frank Thomas (shown) and Paul Konerko are eligible for All-Star Final Vote balloting. (Jeff Roberson/AP)
CHICAGO -- Frank Thomas paced the White Sox dugout at Wrigley Field prior to Sunday's series and Interleague finale with the Cubs. But it wasn't nervous energy driving Thomas.

The White Sox's big designated hitter was mad, angry enough to almost break his vow of media silence in place since April 20. The source of Thomas' anger was the same cause of consternation for the veteran slugger about this time in 2003.

Once again, Thomas was stunned by the selection process for the 2004 All-Star Game. Last year, Thomas objected to a number of the game's big stars being left off the American League and National League rosters for the Midsummer Classic at U.S. Cellular Field. On this occasion, Thomas was upset with the White Sox only getting one player on the team.

Thomas pointed to four All-Stars for Cleveland, a team that started Sunday in third place and four games behind the White Sox and Twins in the American League Central. The South Siders were represented by pitcher Esteban Loaiza, while closer Joe Nathan took the sole honor for Minnesota.

   Frank Thomas  /   DH
Born: 05/27/68
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 275 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

With other worthy candidates such as Thomas himself, Paul Konerko, Juan Uribe and pitchers Mark Buehrle, Shingo Takatsu and Damaso Marte, it was a somewhat disappointing moment for more people associated with the White Sox than just Thomas.

"I'm disappointed some guys didn't get picked," said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper. "Our offense has been hitting the heck out of the ball for us and scoring a lot of runs. That doesn't take anything away from them because they're having great years. There's always people that are going to get left off."

Cooper's thoughts represented the team's consensus opinion -- miffed at the apparent oversight but understanding of the fact that many good players spend the All-Star break fishing or catching up on old television shows that they recorded on TIVO.

Takatsu appeared to have the best case for an all-expenses paid trip to Houston. He carried a 1.19 ERA into Sunday's game and ranked first among American League relievers with 6.82 runners allowed per nine innings. He also was coming off a scoreless streak that reached 26 1/3 innings.

But Cooper remembered that Takatsu struggled in an April 9 game at New York, allowing a two-run home run to Hideki Matsui, and that might have made a lasting impression that swayed AL manager Joe Torre. Takatsu seemed more satisfied with his success as the team's closer than upset with the All-Star strikeout.

"I don't feel any disappointment," said Takatsu, who appeared in five All-Star Games in Japan. "I don't have anything bad to say about missing the All-Star Game."

   Mark Buehrle  /   P
Born: 03/23/79
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 220 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L

One of Buehrle's worst outings of 2004 came in a home contest against New York, which could have swung Torre's decision to Esteban Loaiza. Thomas, Konerko and second baseman Juan Uribe simply came up short at their respective positions.

Injuries arise and new players are chosen to replace those already selected. But if the rosters basically stay the same, the White Sox join the Phillies as the only first-place team without multiple selections.

"I don't really think it's disrespect because, like I said before, these are tough decisions for Joe Torre to make," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "It's hard to pick an All-Star team.

"Just because you're on the All-Star team doesn't mean you're going to have a great year. It's too bad that a couple of players couldn't make it, but that's part of the game."

Strong like bull: Before the media talked with Scott Schoeneweis Sunday evening, the left-hander sarcastically set one ground rule.

   Scott Schoeneweis  /   P
Born: 10/02/73
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 195 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L

"No more controversy," said Schoeneweis with a smile.

The focus Sunday was on Schoeneweis' bullpen session and the physical condition of his inflamed left elbow as Wednesday's start coming off the 15-day disabled list against Anaheim approaches. Schoeneweis was encouraged by the velocity behind his pitches and didn't think more than two weeks between starts would be much of a problem.

Schoeneweis also understood the explanation provided by Guillen and Cooper regarding his status in the starting rotation, the source of controversy of which he joked. The concerns were more about how he feels than how he pitches.

"The way it was explained to me is that I'm in the rotation and any concerns they have are physical and not performance based," said Schoeneweis, carrying a 5-6 record into his start but a 1-5 mark over his last six decisions. "That's what I said before. I thought I pitched just as well as anyone else, so I don't think it's a performance concern.

"You have to protect the team for any scenario, so if I go out and my arm doesn't respond the way we're all hoping it does, there has to be a plan B. I'm looking forward to getting back out there and come back in the second half after that and be ready to go without any bumps in the road."

See you in October? The six games played between the Cubs and White Sox brought a great deal of sporting excitement to the city. But Guillen was glad to see the whole competition come to a close, until October, that is.

"I would love to see what this city would be like with both teams in the World Series," Guillen said with a smile. "But I am glad it's over. I don't know about the players, but I have to deal with so many different things.

"Once the games started, it was a great experience," Guillen added.

Down on the farm: Brian Anderson hit his first home run since being called up to Double-A Birmingham and drove in two during the Barons' 9-5 victory over Tennessee on Saturday. Catcher Carlos Maldonado added two RBIs.

Mike Bell homered, his 17th, and drove in two, but Triple-A Charlotte fell by a 10-3 margin at Durham. Arnie Munoz was touched for seven earned runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings, despite striking out seven. Daron Roberts had three hits, giving him 10 hits in his first 20 at-bats for Great Falls, but his team still lost to Helena, 8-4.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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