Worrell: Memphis' Lone PCL All-Star

Memphis Redbirds right-handed relief pitcher Mark Worrell is a 2007 Pacific Coast League All-Star. In a bit of a surprise, his teammate Rick Ankiel was voted in, but has declined to play.

In his very first season of competition at the Triple-A level, Mark Worrell of the Memphis Redbirds is viewed as one of the best, as the right-handed reliever was named to the 28-man Pacific Coast League All-Star Team on Thursday.

The 6-foot-1, 190 pound Worrell has fanned 36 in 34 innings with the Memphis club this season while walking 17. He has held opposing hitters to a .213 batting average while posting a 3.71 ERA in 27 games and picked up three saves along the way.

Worrell, our 24th-ranked Cardinals prospect here at Scout.com, was originally taken by the organization in the 12th round (360th overall) of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. In 2005, Worrell saved 35 games for Palm Beach (A-Advanced), winning the minor league Rolaids Relief Man Award in the process. He picked up 27 more saves closing for the 2006 Springfield Redbirds.

While the 24-year-old Worrell is the only Cardinals representative who will play in the PCL All-Star Team, three former organizational players will be his teammates – outfielder Terry Evans, traded to the Angels last season, infielder Scott Seabol, who left via minor league free agency and infielder Daric Barton, dealt to Oakland 2.5 years ago.

Two familiar faces will be in the other dugout, that of the International League. Former Memphis/St. Louis outfielder Timo Perez and ex-Cardinals farmhand, pitcher Cory Doyne, were named to the IL All-Star roster, as was Chris Duncan's older brother Shelley, a first baseman in the Yankees system.

In a bit of a surprise, Worrell's Memphis teammate, outfielder Rick Ankiel, is not on the PCL roster. Like Worrell, Ankiel is competing at the Triple-A level for the first time this season, though in Rick's case, he had experience there in his earlier life as a pitcher. Here in 2007, Ankiel is second in the PCL with 21 home runs.

Ankiel was selected for the team via fan voting and according to one report, had almost 20% more votes than the next most popular player, but declined to participate in the game.

In addition to Evans, outfielders Delwyn Young (Dodgers), Alex Romero (Arizona), Adam Jones (Seattle) and Sean Barker (Colorado) made up the contingent of five outfielders playing instead of the 27-year-old Ankiel.

The PCL and IL squads will face off on July 11 when Isotopes Park, the home of the Pacific Coast League's Albuquerque Isotopes, hosts the 2007 Triple-A All-Star Game.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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