PHOENIX -- The last thing Reds third baseman Scott Rolen expected was to find himself in the starting lineup for Tuesday's All-Star Game. Rolen was named to the National League team as an injury replacement on Saturday when Braves third baseman Chipper Jones went on the disabled list with a knee injury. Then NL manager Bruce Bochy revealed on Monday that Rolen would start and bat ninth. "It all kind of snuck up on me and was a bit of a shock," Rolen said during batting practice at Chase Field.
Besides Jones going down, the NL also lost the Phillies' Placido Polanco to an injury. Bochy still selected Rolen to start over his own Giants player, Pablo Sandoval, who was named to replace Polanco. Rolen was late getting to Phoenix and spent much of the day with his family on an airplane. Because he didn't learn of his initial All-Star addition until Saturday when the Reds were in Milwaukee, he had nothing for a trip to Arizona.
More importantly, Rolen wanted his family to join him."We were a little spread out. I had my family at home and shorts and flip flops in my bag," he said. "So I had to pull everything together. I left this morning from Indiana to get here. I'm here, better late than never." The first half of the 2011 season hasn't been an easy one for Rolen, who is batting .241 with five home runs and 36 RBIs in 62 games. From April 8-June 15, he went without a home run and he also spent April 24-May 12 on the disabled list with an injury to his problematic left shoulder. Among the good things that came Rolen's way was collecting career hit No. 2,000 on July 4 at St. Louis. "If you look at some of his years in Philadelphia, he ended up coming up short on some All-Star bids," Reds first baseman Joey Votto said. "Maybe this is the baseball gods way of righting the ship." Many around the league, especially on the Reds, hold Rolen in high regard for his approach to the game. Besides being an accomplished hitter, he's also an eight-time NL Gold Glove winner -- including in 2010. "Scott Rolen is really the one who motivates me," Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips said. "He just told me that until you win you don't really know the type of player you can be. I always listen to him. He's a great guy. He's been around a long time and I respect him and the way he approaches the game. I want to thank him for everything he's done for me and he's still doing." Rolen was an All-Star for the Cardinals from 2002-07 and with the Reds in '10. In last year's game, a 3-1 win for the NL, Rolen started a three-run seventh inning with a one-out single and made a daring hustle play running from first to third base on a Matt Holliday single up the middle. And now he's back for another chance to do something in the Midsummer Classic. "It's always special," Rolen said. "I kind of viewed last year as my last All-Star game. I thought 'OK, bring the whole family, do it all.' And here we are again. I rolled it all out last year and this is an add-on. Everybody is here, but we had to go and collect them."