LOS ANGELES - Luis Gonzalez will be part of the National League team at the All-Star game for the fifth time, so it can be said that the Midsummer Classic has become old hat for him.
However, considering what the Diamondbacks left fielder has endured in the last week and in the last year, participating in the July 12 contest in Detroit will be something to treasure.
“I’m excited,” Gonzalez said on Sunday. “The way I’ve been an up-and-down roller coaster lately, finishing off this week by getting picked for the team is rewarding. Calling my mom and telling her was pretty nice.”
Starting pitcher Brandon Webb is one of five NL pitchers up for the final roster spot. That will be decided via fan voting through Wednesday at MLB.com.
After an arduous rehabilitation of his right elbow, which needed ligament replacement surgery in August 2004, Gonzalez was enjoying the return to his usual role as the D-Backs’ most consistent hitter. Then, 10 days ago, he was devastated by the death of his stepfather.
Gonzalez missed three games while on the bereavement list.
“My whole family is thrilled,” Gonzalez said. “It’s probably the first good news they have had in a while.”
No member of Gonzalez’s family will be more thrilled than his 7-year-old son, Jacob, who this morning will learn that he will take in the entire All-Star experience — from wearing a uniform to meeting the other players to being on the field for the Home Run Derby — with dad.
“I’m going to tell him when he wakes up,” Gonzalez said. “I think he will enjoy it a lot. I haven’t done it in the past because he was too young. This time, I’ll savor the moment of being with my son on the field.”
Gonzalez — the longest-tenured Arizona player, having been with the franchise since 1999 — is batting .298 with 19 doubles, 11 home runs and 50 RBIs.
“When you think of the Arizona Diamondbacks, his name comes up very quickly,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s been consistent for us all season, offensively and defensively.”
Webb, who is 8-4 with a 3.24 ERA and 82 strikeouts, is up against San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman, Houston starter Roy Oswalt and two pitchers from Philadelphia — starter Brett Myers and closer Billy Wagner — in the online balloting.