07/14/10 1:30 AM ET
Wigginton all smiles after All-Star debut
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Wigginton, the 32-year-old infielder who served as the Orioles' lone representative at the 81st Midsummer Classic at Angel Stadium, played one inning at third base but didn't get a chance to hit.
Still, the Southern California native was surrounded by family and said he loved every minute of the ride.
"It's been outstanding," Wigginton said. "It's been pretty busy, kind of hectic. At the same time, I'm trying to soak it up as much as I can. But it seems like you always have somewhere to be, something to do."
Wigginton, who has bounced around in nine seasons in the big leagues -- from the Mets to the Pirates to the Rays to the Astros to the Orioles -- had his All-Star ticket punched after putting up a first half with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs, which puts him on pace for the biggest run-producing year of his career.
On Tuesday night and for all of All-Star week, Wigginton was not alone in sharing this rare honor. He starred at Chula Vista High School near San Diego, only a few hours down the road from Orange County, so his wife, three children and parents were able to share the festivities with him.
Once the game started, Wigginton waited out the pitchers' duel until the top of the seventh inning, when he entered the game at third base as a defensive replacement for American League starter Evan Longoria. Wigginton's only action at the hot corner in the National League's 3-1 victory came on Matt Holliday's single to center field. Scott Rolen, who was standing on first after hitting a one-out single, took off for third base. Torii Hunter's throw from center was offline and Wigginton was unable to tag out Rolen.
Wigginton was scheduled to lead off the bottom of the seventh, but he was pinch-hit for by Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher. That ended his night on the field, but Wigginton said he had an enjoyable experience that didn't intimidate him one bit.
"It's definitely a good feeling to get in and participate," Wigginton said. "But as far as once I got out there, it wasn't like I'm nervous or anything."
Now that his first All-Star Game is in the books, Wigginton will head back to Baltimore and try to help his club, which could have a new manager soon. According to multiple reports, the Orioles are close to hiring veteran skipper Buck Showalter to take over for interim manager Juan Samuel.
"You know what? That's all stuff that, as a player, you really can't worry about or think about," Wigginton said. "That's going to take care of itself. You spend enough time trying to concentrate on hitting and catching the little white thing. That needs to be our focus as players.
"I think as we've seen in Baltimore with the manager change and everything else, you have to try to block that stuff out and focus on the game instead of letting all those distractions get to you."