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In Sports from United Press International

All-Star game starting pitchers named

MILWAUKEE, July 8 (UPI) -- Curt Schilling of the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday was named the starting pitcher for the National League All-Star team for the third time in four years. This time, the honor was given by his own manager Bob Brenly.

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American League manager Joe Torre of the New York Yankees gave the AL starting nod to Derek Lowe of the Boston Red Sox.

Lowe made the All-Star team as a closer two years ago and has excelled as a starter this season, tying for the league lead in wins with 11, and leading the league with a 2.18 ERA.

"It's a tremendous honor," Lowe said at Monday's news conference. "In my first year starting, I came into the year with no expectations, so this is more than I could ever have dreamed of."

Schilling was named as the starter for last year's All-Star Game, but had problems loosening up before the game and was replaced by Arizona teammate Randy Johnson. Schilling, who is 13-3 with a 3.22 ERA, started the All-Star Game in 1999 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

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"It's no less an honor today than it was the first time," Schilling said.

Meanwhile, the starting lineups will be:

American League

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Ichiro Suzuki, rf, Seattle Mariners

Shea Hillenbrand, 3b, Boston Red Sox

Alex Rodriguez, ss, Texas Rangers

Jason Giambi, 1b, New York Yankees

Manny Ramirez, lf, Boston Red Sox

Jorge Posada, c, New York Yankees

Torii Hunter, cf, Minnesota Twins

Alfonso Soriano, 2b, New York Yankees

Derek Lowe, rhp, Boston Red Sox

National League

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Jose Vidro, 2b, Montreal Expos

Todd Helton, 1b, Colorado Rockies

Barry Bonds, lf, San Francisco Giants

Sammy Sosa, rf, Chicago Cubs

Vladimir Guerrero, cf, Montreal Expos

Mike Piazza, c, New York Mets

Scott Rolen, 3b, Philadelphia Phillies

Jimmy Rollins, ss, Philadelphia Phillies

Curt Schilling, rhp, Arizona Diamondbacks

Monday's festivities come the same day that union leaders and player representatives were scheduled to meet in Chicago to discuss the possibility of setting a strike date. Baseball has been operating without a collective bargaining agreement for the entire season.

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Bonds leads All-Star Home Run Derby

MILWAUKEE, July 8 (UPI) -- This year's Home Run Derby competition, the highlight of Monday's All-Star Workout Day in Milwaukee, promises to provide more than a few interesting stories.

With the baseball season at its unofficial midway point, All-Star festivities get underway at Miller Park as the two teams have a workout planned before eight individuals compete in the

annual long ball contest.

Chosen to compete for the National League Monday night are San Francisco's Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs, Houston's Lance Berkman and Richie Sexson of Milwaukee. The American League quartet includes Alex Rodriguez of Texas, New York's Jason Giambi, Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox, and Minnesota's Torii Hunter.

Last year's champion, Luis Gonzalez of Arizona, a surprise winner at Safeco Field in Seattle, would need someone to pull out for a chance at defending his title.

Sosa won the Home Run Derby in Atlanta in 2000, but lost to Gonzalez in the finals last year. Bonds, whose 73 home runs last year were three more than Mark McGwire hit with St. Louis in 1998 to break the mark that Roger Maris held, made it to the second round in Seattle, and won in Philadelphia in 1996. Rodriguez is the AL home run leader while Sexson, who should have a significant hometown edge, is known for his towering home runs.

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Giambi will have a chance to avenge a disappointing second round last year. He hit 14 homers in his opening round, including a majestic blast off a window well above the right field stands, but managed just six in the second round and was eliminated by Sosa.

Hunter, Berkman and Konerko are competing for the first time. Berkman leads the major leagues with 29 home runs.

Also Monday, starting lineups will be revealed, with NL Manager Bob Brenly of Arizona and his AL counterpart, Joe Torre of the Yankees, naming who will be their starting pitchers.

With the NL losing three starting pitchers Sunday, Brenly is expected to choose Curt Schilling, one of his co-aces with the Diamondbacks. Torre likely will name Boston's Derek Lowe, but has a few more options.

Monday's festivities come the same day that union leaders and player representatives meet in Chicago to discuss the possibility of setting a strike date. Baseball has been operating without a collective bargaining agreement for the entire season.


All-Star MVP Award to be named after Ted

MILWAUKEE, July 8 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball will honor Hall of Famer Ted Williams, who died last Friday at age 83, by naming the All-Star MVP Award after him, it was announced Monday.

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The first recipient of the Ted Williams Award will be selected after Tuesday night's game at Miller Park in Milwaukee, according to MLB spokesman Matt Gould.

Baseball will also pay tribute to Williams during the game with a special ceremony. The last player to hit .400 in a season holds all-time All-Star records for RBIs (12) and walks (11), and single-game All-Star records for hits (4) and home runs (2).

In 18 All-Star appearances, he hit .304 with four home runs. He thrilled fans with many memorable All-Star moments, but it was a non-playing Midsummer Classic appearance that brought him back to the game.

After ending his military service in 1953, Williams did not plan to return to baseball. But he was asked to throw out the first pitch at that year's All-Star Game at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, and the thunderous ovation he received convinced him to change his mind.

An official All-Star Game MVP was not selected until 1962, two seasons after Williams retired. He likely would have earned the honor in 1941, when his two-out, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off the Cubs' Claude Passeau propelled the American League to a 7-5 victory.


Thomas controversy becomes a Chisox distraction

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CHICAGO, July 8 (UPI) -- Veteran slugger Frank Thomas, who showed up late for a game on Sunday, says he will waive the no-trade clause in his contract if need be.

Thomas, who has been in a prolonged slump, was benched for a third straight day by Manager Jerry Manuel. His average at the All-Star break is only .239.

"If they don't want me here, sure, I'd do it," Thomas said after Sunday's 9-3 loss to Cleveland ended the first half on a down note. "I don't want to be somewhere I'm not wanted."

Thomas, who was rested for the last two games by Manuel after going 0-for-16 with nine strikeouts over his previous four games, was late for a team meeting at the ballpark and benched by Manuel for the transgression.

Afterwards, Thomas was incensed.

"It's absolute crap, that someone thinks that I went AWOL," Thomas said. "I wasn't that late at all, and it's not a big issue. What do I need to talk to Jerry for? He has no reason to keep holding me out of the lineup. I'm not happy that he kept me out of the lineup the last three games. He could've approached me and said, 'I'm going to sit you the next three games,' but he didn't do that. I'm not looking to cause any trouble. I know I've been struggling and I need to make some adjustments."

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When apprised of Thomas' comments, Manuel attempted to make peace with the slugger.

"If Frank is ready to talk, I'm ready to talk. There will be a time when we'll need to talk and that time will be very soon," Manuel said.

"It's easy to say stuff and not prove it," said Jose Valentin said of Thomas' complaints about his benching. "In baseball, you're always going to get a chance. But you better keep your mouth shut until you can go out and prove it."

His recent attitude, which includes showing up late for games, not joining the post-game handshake after game, not taking part in the pregame stretching exercises and the like, speaks volumes, and has not endeared him to teammates.

"He knows we're behind him," said All-Star Paul Kornerko. "But it's tough if he kind of secludes himself from the team. He's not out there for stretching. He's not in here [in the clubhouse] when we're in here. That's not really a knock against him. It kind of is, maybe, but that's just common sense. You can't say anything to someone if he's not around."

The White Sox don't need this controversy swirling around them. They were one of baseball's biggest disappointments in the first half, going 42-46. They are in second place in the AL Central, but trail the frontrunning Minnesota Twins by 7 1/2 games.

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WNBA's Shock trades Palmer to Orlando

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., July 8 (UPI) -- New Detroit Coach Bill Laimbeer, desperate to shake up a 1-15 team, Monday orchestrated his first trade, acquiring guard Elaine Powell from the Orlando Miracle for forward Wendy Palmer.

The Shock also got a first-round pick in the 2003 draft and sent a second-round pick to the Miracle in the deal.

Powell averaged 5.9 points, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals in 15 games, including one start, with Orlando. Last year, she averaged 11.2 points, 3.1 assists and 1.5 steals per contest.

"Elaine Powell gives us an experienced guard with three-point range that is both quick and athletic, and can play both guard positions," Laimbeer said. "This trade strengthens our backcourt and allows us to concentrate on improving our frontcourt with our draft picks."

Detroit now has two first-round picks in the 2003 draft.

Palmer, a WNBA All-Star in 2000, started in all 16 games this season for the Shock, averaging 11.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

She recorded a career-high 15 rebounds in a game on June 9 against New York.

Laimbeer moved from the front office to the bench after Greg Williams was fired following an 0-10 start. The team is just 1-5 under his leadership.

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Palmer, a 6'2" forward, originally selected by the Utah Starzz in 1997 in the WNBA Elite Draft, and played two-and-a-half seasons with that franchise. The University of Virginia graduate was then traded to the Detroit Shock on July 29, 1999. She represented Detroit in the 2000 WNBA All-Star Game and was named to the 1997 All-WNBA Second Team.

Powell was selected by Orlando in the fourth round (50th overall) of the 1999 WNBA Draft. The 5-9 guard is the first-ever player traded by the Miracle.


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