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SAN DIEGO — It wasn’t something he thought about much in Little League or in his time at Nimitz High School or the University of Houston or in the minors, but once he reached the big leagues, Michael Bourn started to wonder.

“You wonder if you can play with some of the best players that play,” Bourn said. “You take it one day at a time, but in the back of your mind it starts to creep sometimes. ‘I wonder if I could get into that game.'”

Sunday, for the first time in his career, Michael Bourn did. He was selected to the National League All-Star team as an outfield reserve and as the Astros’ lone selection.

Bourn, 27, is hitting .260 on the season from the leadoff spot with 17 doubles and league-leading totals of 25 stolen bases and 17 infield hits. He is a defending National League Gold Glove award winner and with his stellar center field play, including a league-best eight outfield assists, he could be headed for another.

“He’s been a catalyst on our ballclub on both sides of the ball, and this is a kid that works hard and really cares and it’s great to see him get the center-stage recognition that he deserves,” said general manager Ed Wade, who drafted Bourn into the Phillies organization in 2003 and brought him to Houston in the Brad Lidge trade after the 2007 season.

Wade called Bourn at 8 a.m. Pacific Time to give him the news, and the first call Bourn made was to his parents, who will accompany him to the game July 13 in Anaheim, Calif. Charlie Manuel, who managed Bourn in Philadelphia, and will manage the NL team by virtue of the Phillies’ 2009 pennant, was the one who selected Bourn.

He will be the lone Astros representative as the team has been in or near the basement of the NL Central all season.

Roy Oswalt, who is statistically having the best season on the pitching staff, was likely victimized by his 5-10 record as a result of poor run support and a particularly strong crop of National League pitchers.

The difficult season makes it a little bit bittersweet for Bourn.

“I’m happy to be a part of it, even though we’re not having the season we could be having or should be having,” Bourn said. “The last month hasn’t gone great for me, but I’ve been able to scrap and stay above water.” Source

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