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Samson wants explanation as to why Marlins won't be represented at All-Star Game

ST. LOUIS -- Marlins President David Samson expressed his disappointment Sunday over the fact the Marlins will be the only major league team without representation at the All-Star Game in Kansas City next week.

"I think there were a lot of different ways [National League manager] Tony [LaRussa] or MLB could have gone. I think it's unfortunate. I think every team should be represent on the line in the All-Star Game," Samson said.

"... if our guy had surgery, he had to have surgery. Obviously, it's been a disappointing first half. That being said, there are plenty of other teams that have had a disappointing first half and they have All-Stars. We have a team full of All-Stars. You look at the fact this game counts and you need to win it, having [Greg] Dobbs as an All-Star pinch hitter off the bench was an option. Having [reliever Steve] Cishek come in and get righties out was an option. Having [Justin] Ruggiano come in, who is completely clubbing the ball was an option...

"Whoever made the decision, they had their own view of it and it's disappointing. There's nothing else you can say except to say I wish the first half could have gone differently."

Samson said he spoke with Tim Brosnan, an MLB vice president, about why no Marlins were selected. Asked about the explanation given to him, Samson said: “Can’t say that I had one.”

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, meanwhile, said while "it feels weird" the Marlins won't be represented at the All-Star Game, nobody other than Stanton in his eyes really had an All-Star caliber first half. Asked who he thought could have replaced Stanton, Guillen mentioned Rugginao (but worried he didn't have enough at-bats), Cishek and second baseman Omar Infante. 

"Everybody else, they should be watching on TV," Guillen said. "The funny thing about it is when we built this ballclub we thought we were going to have five guys in the All-Star Game. You look at the names we have, we should have a pretty good group of guys. They're just not playing up to the caliber."

> Samson also questioned why Nationals rookie Bryce Harper was the player selected to replace Stanton and why Ruggiano wasn't when they have nearly the same service time. Harper, though, has played in 62 games. Ruggiano has played in 31. Harper is hitting .283 with 8 homers, 25 RBI. Ruggiano is hitting .410 with six homers and 17 RBI.

> Samson said what bothered him the most about the Marlins during the first half was their inconsistency.

"There's been a lot of attention with the team there's never been before. I think when you talk about all the excitement going into the season that's what leads to this level of disappointment because you don't expect to be under .500 at the break at all," Samson said. "But the way things went I think we're pretty happy to be this close to .500. It could have been a lot worse. It took a record breaking May just to get to this position. I'd like to see us consistently win series and that's how we'll make the playoffs. This team is capable of it. Ozzie told the guys himself, there's no reason to think other than we'll be in the playoffs. 

"You look at the top of the lineup. There is so much upside with Jose and Hanley. Having a professional like Carlos Lee in your lineup makes a difference. Heath had his first half struggles, but he has 19 saves. I think he's blown five and that to me is a year's worth of blown save. I think his second half has a chance to be perfect. So, there's a lot of upside. The disappointment we feel now is what you take two seconds and say what could have been and you move onto the second half and realize what you have to do."

> Samson said that on paper he believes the Marlins could now have the best three through five hitting combination in the majors with Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Lee and Stanton. But Samson said it's time for those guys to deliver -- especially Ramirez.

"Hanley is the man on this team. But being the man -- saying you're the man and being the man -- are two different things," Samson said. "He has it in him to do it. I hope the switch goes on because he's sort of the catalyst."

> Samson said the key for the Marlins in the second half is getting back to .500 "as quickly as possible." The Marlins will certainly have a huge opportunity to gain ground right away. They open the second half with a four-game series at home against the first-place Nationals, whom they swept on their first trip to Marlins Park.

> Samson said the grass in the outfield at Marlins Park, which has turned brown, should be much improved when the team returns to action on Friday. Samson said the roof has been left open, allowing for rain and sunlight to help the situation.

> As for the team's home attendance, Samson said it's hard not to be happy with what Marlins Park drew (28,329, 18th best in the majors) in the first half. But he said the team's struggles hurt. He expects improvement in the second half because he expects the Marlins to perform better.

"Right now, our performance is just to the left of mediocre. We're not a team that shoots for mediocre," Samson said. "There are some teams that do. That's not our team. We're shooting for the playoffs and being around .500 is not anywhere near where we want to be.

"I think this market, our market can handle a good Marlins team, a good team and a good Dolphins team."

> With the Showtime series The Franchise set to resume Wednesday, Samson said Marlins fans will be privy to everything they want to see -- within the allotted time frame.

"We promised to give them access to everything and we've delivered that," Samson said. "They're everywhere we are. They were there when we traded for Carlos Lee. They're there when we send players down. They there when we talk about players, off the field and on the field. It debuts Wednesday and it should be very interesting because there will be a lot of stuff that won't make the show because of the hours of footage. I think fans around the world while they won't see us at the All-Star Game, they're certainly going to see us everywhere else."

> Guillen said he plans on keeping his starting rotation the same after the All-Star Break -- Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Ricky Nolasco, Carlos Zambrano and Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins and Reds are the only teams in baseball that have maintained the same starting rotation all season long and not used a sixth pitcher. 

SUNDAY'S LINEUPS

> Marlins (41-43): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 3. Carlos Lee 1B, 4. Logan Morrison LF, 5. Justin Ruggiano CF, 6. Greg Dobbs RF, 7. Omar Infante 2B, 8. John Buck C, 9. Anibal Sanchez RHP.

> Cardinals (45-40): 1. Rafael Furcal SS, 2. John Jay CF, 3. Matt Holliday LF, 4. Carlos Beltran RF, 5. Allen Craig 1B, 6. Matt Carpenter 3B, 7. Skip Schumaker 2B, 8. Tony Cruz C, 9. Joe Kelly RHP.

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