Atlanta's Greg Maddux said Friday he won't be able to be the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star game on Tuesday due to injury. His choice for a replacement is Hideo Nomo, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Japanese sensation.
"I think more people want to watch him pitch than me, to be honest," said Maddux, the three-time Cy Young Award winner."He's unique. He's different. There's a certain mystique which I don't have."
Maddux injured his groin slightly in the Braves' 1-0 victory over the Dodgers Thursday night. He said the injury would cause him to miss pitching in the All-Star game at Arlington, Texas, but that he would attend the game and suit up.
He made his decision Friday before the Braves played the San Francisco Giants.
"Why take the risk?" he said. "We're here to win the World Series, to win our division. . . . I don't feel that it's fair to my teammates or the organization to risk that."
Nomo (6-1), who leads the league with 119 strikeouts, said he isn't thinking about a role in the All-Star game.
"Hopefully it's not a serious injury" to Maddux, he said through an interpreter.
Before the start of a Dodgers-Reds series Friday night at Cincinnati, Nomo commented about the possibility of starting the All-Star Game.
"The significance of playing the All-Star game is not just the starting pitcher, it's to enjoy and have fun. That's what's important," he said.
Nomo gave up two hits and struck out 10 in seven innings against the Braves Wednesday night. Atlanta won 4-1 on a ninth-inning, three-run homer by rookie Chipper Jones.
The decision on who will start the All-Star game will fall to NL manager Felipe Alou of the Montreal Expos.
Maddux (8-1) started last year's All-Star game in Pittsburgh, giving up one run in three innings.
"Of course you want to pitch in it, but the important thing is to be there for the run down the stretch," Maddux said. "You don't want to do something that could hurt your chances of being at your best at the end of the season."
Despite the injury, which occurred as he tried to beat out a slow grounder to short, Maddux remained in Thursday night's game until he retired the Dodgers in the eighth inning.
Maddux allowed five hits and struck out six in lowering his ERA to a major-league-low 1.64. He also extended to 49 his streak of innings without giving up a walk.
Maddux said he didn't think he would miss a turn in the pitching rotation and would probably start Thursday night in San Diego.