HOUSTON -- Roger Clemens will open the All-Star Game for the National League, throwing the first pitch to his nemesis, New York Mets catcher Mike
"I'm glad I'm throwing to him and I don't have to face him," Clemens said Monday.
Clemens, 10-3 with a 2.62 ERA for his hometown Houston Astros, was selected to start Monday by NL manager Jack McKeon of the Florida Marlins.
Oakland's Mark Mulder was picked to start by AL manager Joe Torre of the New York Yankees.
Clemens, then with the Yankees, beaned Piazza in July 2000. In Game 2 of the World Series that October, he threw the jagged barrel of a shattered bat
in the direction of Piazza, earning a $50,000 fine.
While the pair aren't warm to each other, they repeatedly have said they didn't foresee a problem working with each other. On Monday, Clemens called
the controversy a media creation.
"It's not that big a deal. It's not an issue," he said.
Clemens said he planned to meet with Piazza before Tuesday's game, just as he would any other catcher.
"I'm sure we'll go over the first handful of hitters," Clemens said.
Clemens said he hasn't thought about whether he wanted to play in 2005. Then he alluded to the poor first half of the Astros, who are 44-44, 10½
games behind NL Central-leading St. Louis.
"It's not a lot of fun when you see your teammates are down and not happy with the way they are playing," he said.
Mulder, overshadowed by Clemens, is tied with Texas' Kenny Rogers for the major-league lead with 12 victories, going 12-2 with a 3.21 ERA.
Ichiro Suzuki leads off for the AL and plays center field, followed by Detroit catcher Ivan Rodriguez, Anaheim right fielder Vladimir Guerrero, Boston
left fielder Manny Ramirez, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Texas second
baseman Alfonso Soriano and Mulder.
St. Louis shortstop Edgar Renteria leads off for the NL, followed by Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, San Francisco left fielder Barry Bonds,
Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen, Chicago Cubs right fielder Sammy Sosa, Piazza, Houston center fielder Lance Berkman, Astros second baseman Jeff
Kent and Clemens.
Berkman replaced injured Cincinnati outfielder Ken Griffey Jr.