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Ty Wigginton spent spring training wondering about whether he even had role with the Orioles' and those questions only increased when the infielder didn't start the team's first four games.

But in second baseman Brian Roberts' absence, Wigginton emerged as one of the team's top hitters and today he was recognized by being selected to the American League All-Star team. Wigginton was the only Oriole selected for the fifth straight year and the ninth time over the last 10 years.

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"I was just shocked actually," said Wigginton who was given the news after he arrived at Fenway Park this morning. "I feel like at this point, there are some guys having better years than me, both on the team and around the league. But obviously, we know somebody has to go from here and it feels good that it's me."

Wigginton, a 34-year-old playing with his fifth big-league club, is hitting .251 but he leads the Orioles with 14 homers and 42 RBIs. He has struggled lately, hitting just one homer in his last 34 games, and taking a 1-for-23 slump into today's series finale against the Boston Red Sox.

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But Wigginton's versatility and his ability to play multiple positions, including second base, figured prominently in the decision, according to Orioles' interim manager Juan Samuel.

New York Yankees' second baseman Robinson Cano will start for the American League, but several other A.L. top second basemen are either dealing with injuries (Roberts, Dustin Pedroia) or are having down years (Aaron Hill).

Wigginton said the honor still hadn't sunk in, but he suspected the All-Star game, which will played next week in Anaheim, Calif., will be one of the highlights of his career.

"I haven't thought about it that much, I guess," said Wigginton who had planned to go home to North Carolina during the All-Star break and spend the time off on his boat and with his family. "The ultimate highlight is getting to put a jersey on each and every day. I take a lot of pride in just getting that opportunity. I'm sure when I have time to let it all soak in and look back, it will definitely be one of my career highlights."

Several of Wigginton's teammates applauded the choice, including outfielder Nick Markakis who most people suspected would represent the Orioles because of his team-leading .302 average and because he is top 10 in the A.L. in doubles, on-base percentage and walks. But Markakis' sagging power numbers (four homers and 26 RBIs) plus a crowded A.L. outfield factored against him.

"I'm not disappointed at all," Markakis said. "I'm happy for Wiggy. I told him to 'go have fun.' He was picked for a reason. He deserves it. I'm still young. I'll have opportunities to be in that position. He's been in the league for eight, nine years now."

Samuel, who made three All-Star teams during his 16-year big league career, said that Wigginton was deserving of an opportunity.

"It's nice to see them pick Wiggy," he said. "As we all know in spring training, we didn't even know if Wiggy was going to be on the club. That's why you have to be patient, stay in shape and be positive and things will work out. Just look what happened. Brian got hurt and he got a chance to play. If you could imagione us without Wiggy's numbers the first few months of the season, where would we have been? He was the guy carrying the club. It was really nice to see. He deserves it. He's been a model guy for us."

Wigginton admitted that it would have been impossible to foresee making an All-Star team, especially with how the season began.

"Me and [backup catcher Craig Tatum], I remember the first week of the season, we were drawing straws to see who was going to get to play first," Wigginton said. "It was the furthest thing from my mind. I didn't really think about it at any point. I'm just blown away."

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