Seven Lugnuts Picked For 2008 All-Star Game

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LANSING – The Lansing Lugnuts will be represented by an Eastern Division high seven players at the 2008 Midwest League All-Star Game two weeks from tonight. The rosters for both the Eastern and Western Divisions were announced today by the Midwest League.

The Lugnuts, who currently lead the division by two games, will be represented by four position players and three pitchers.

"All of these guys are very deserving of this honor," Lugnuts manager Clayton McCullough said. "They've all gotten better as the season has progressed and its nice to see them get this recognition."

Manny Rodriguez will be the lone member from the Lugnuts that will be in the starting lineup, as he was named the starting designated hitter for the contest. Rodriguez currently ranks near the top of the league in several statistical categories. He is sixth with a .310 batting average, tied for third with 37 RBI, first with 19 doubles, and third with 24 extra-base hits this season.

The three other position players that will join him are all members of the infield: third baseman Kevin Ahrens, shortstop Justin Jackson, and second baseman John Tolisano. All three men are in their first full professional season after being drafted out of high school last year.

Ahrens, a first round draft pick for Toronto last year, is hitting .260 and ranks second on the Lugnuts with 24 RBI hitting in the second spot in the order. He was drafted 16th overall out of Memorial High School in Houston, Texas last season.

Jackson, a supplemental first round selection in 2007, has been the primary lead-off man for Lansing this season. He is hitting .250 with three homers and 23 RBI. He is tied for second in the circuit with 40 runs scored. Jackson also leads the Lugnuts in on-base percentage (.382) and walks drawn (30).

Tolisano, a second round pick in 2007, is rapping .274 and has driven in 23 men this year. He is also tied for second place in the league with six triples and has started 47 games this season at second base.

Three hurlers will be at the game to represent the Lugnuts. Starters Randy Boone and Brad Mills will be joined by reliever Edgar Estanga, rounding out Lansing's entries into the game.

Boone, a seventh round pick last year from the University of Texas, leads the Lugnuts in wins and earned run average for a starting pitcher this season. He currently boats a 6-2 record with a 2.56 ERA. Boone also has the only complete-game shutout for the Lugnuts this season.

Mills, a fourth round selection from the University of Arizona in 2007, is tied for the league lead with 68 strikeouts this year and is fifth in all of Minor League Baseball by averaging 10.49 punchouts per nine innings. He has made 11 starts this year and holds a 4-2 mark with a 2.62 ERA.

Estanga, currently in second stint with the Lugnuts, has posted a 5-1 record out of the pen with a sterling 0.66 ERA. He has made 18 appearances for Lansing and allowed just three runs in 40 2/3 innings this year.

The 2008 Midwest League All-Star Game will be held on Tuesday, June 17th at Dow Diamond in Midland, Michigan, home of the Great Lakes Loons. The game can be heard on the Lugnuts flagship radio station, WQTX Oldies 92.1 FM.

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