Lo Duca picked for All-Star spot

Dodgers catcher Paul Lo Duca was selected for his second All-Star Game appearance, replacing injured Reds first baseman Sean Casey. National League manager Jack McKeon said Lo Duca would provide more depth behind the plate.

"We decided we didn't want to get caught short at catcher," said McKeon. "Piazza has played a lot of first base, so we wanted to add another catcher and Paul has had a very good year."

"I'm excited. I'm not going to lie to you," said Lo Duca, who is hitting .308, with six homers and 35 RBI. "To be in the same clubhouse with Barry, Griffey Jr., Sosa. The 500 home run club. I'll take it all in."

Lo Duca expressed dismay that Adrian Beltré wouldn't join him in Houston for the Midsummer Classic.

"Belly came up and congratulated me, and I told him, 'Belly, I don't deserve to go, you do,' " Lo Duca said. "If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't be where we're at right now, and that's the bottom line. He's carried us through the last month. It's bittersweet. I wish he was there."

Lo Duca, who was hitting .308 with six home runs and 35 runs batted in before the Dodgers series with the Astros, joins teammate Eric Gagné as an All-Star for a second consecutive season. Lo Duca becomes the third catcher on the team, joining Atlanta's Johnny Estrada and the New York Mets' Mike Piazza.