Kirk Gibson turned down a couple of chances to play in the All-Star game during his playing days, so he was a bit startled at Miguel Montero's reaction Sunday when he told the Arizona Diamondbacks catcher that he was being added to the National League team as an injury replacement.
"I thought he was going to cry," Gibson said.
But the Diamondbacks manager, speaking from experience, said Montero just might surprise the rest of baseball if he's given the chance to play Tuesday night.
"I started my football career in college, and I was the last guy picked. I turned out to be pretty good," said Gibson, who became a record-setting All-American wide receiver at Michigan State.
Montero, added to the NL roster to replace Philadelphia's Placido Polanco, is a solid receiver who's spent his five-year career playing under the radar in Arizona. He's batting .272 with 45 runs batted in in 81 games this season, number than have given him a chance to make a name for himself on a bigger stage
"This is a great opportunity for Miggy to show everybody nationally what he's all about," said Gibson, who was selected to the NL coaching staff.
-- Kevin Baxter in Phoenix
Photo: Miguel Montero shakes hands with former Baltimore Orioles' Cal Ripken Jr. after Ripken threw out the ceremonial first pitch during the home run derby Monday. Credit: David J. Phillip / Associated Press