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Santiago has second chance
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07/06/2003  8:00 PM ET 
Santiago has second chance
Catcher a candidate for etopps Final Vote
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Benito Santiago was the MVP of the 2002 National League Championship Series. (Amy Sancetta/AP)
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    SAN DIEGO -- Benito Santiago has a dislocated left pinky finger, but he doesn't have a broken spirit.

    The Giants catcher is still in the running along with four other players for that coveted 32nd spot on the National League All-Star team. Five players were also selected for a similar runoff in the American League.

    The players were nominated by 2003 All-Star Game managers Dusty Baker and Mike Scioscia in conjunction with Major League Baseball. Fans can vote here at sfgiants.com or MLB.com and can select one player for each league. The etopps All-Star Final Vote ends on Wednesday, July 9, at 3 p.m. PT. Winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.

    Giants right-hander Jason Schmidt, who was selected to the NL squad along with teammate Barry Bonds, said he will campaign for Santiago to get the Internet votes needed to make the team. Santiago's batting .294 with 10 homers and 41 RBIs.

    "I've been campaigning for Benito since I've been here," Schmidt said. "I'd love to throw to him in the All-Star Game. I give him half the credit for everything I've done here. His age alone, he should be in the All-Star Game. At 38, he's the most fit guy on the team."

    2003 All-Star Game

    2003 All-Star Game information >

    Santiago was on the NL squad last year and struck out with a runner on second, ending the game in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings.

    If he's selected again this year, at 38, he'll be the oldest catcher ever picked to the All-Star Game in back-to-back years.

    Santiago, who hurt his hand sliding into third base head-first against the Padres at Qualcomm Stadium on Friday night, is out for about a week. He has been selected as an NL All-Star five times, playing in four games. Santiago missed the 1990 game in Chicago's Wrigley Field because of an injury.

    He came up in 1987 for the Padres and was the unanimous NL Rookie of the Year for a season that he ended with a 34-game hitting streak that is still the longest for a catcher, Latin player and a Padre.

      Benito Santiago   /   C
    Height: 6'1"
    Weight: 195
    Bats/Throws: R/R

    More info:
    Player page
    Stats
    Splits
    Hit chart
    kcroyals.com

    After his San Diego tenure ended in 1992, Santiago played with six teams in the next eight seasons, finally landing in San Francisco in 2001. After nearly being killed in a car accident, the native of Ponce, Puerto Rico, rejuvenated his career.

    For the Giants last season, he hit .278 with 16 homers and 74 RBIs, batting fifth in the lineup during most of the second half behind Bonds. The 16 homers were his most in a single season since 1996 when he tagged a career-high 30 for the Phillies.

    Last postseason, Santiago was named MVP of the Giants' five-game victory over St. Louis in the NL Championship Series after hitting .300 with two homers and six RBIs. He won Game 4 with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning after the Cards intentionally walked Bonds with two out and no one on base.

    The good times have continued into this season, although Atlanta catcher Javier Lopez was voted by the fans to the NL team and the Dodgers' Paul Lo Duca was picked as his backup.

    That puts Santiago on the short list of a five-man Internet runoff for that coveted 32nd roster spot.

    "Benny's like Al Gore," Giants manager Felipe Alou said.

    Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.





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