ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Kenny Rogers left the Texas Rangers’ clubhouse Sunday without saying whether he will participate in the All-Star game, but later told a newspaper that he is going to Detroit.

Rogers told team officials that he wasn’t speaking to reporters after the Rangers beat Toronto 9-8 in their final game before the break. The 40-year-old left-hander didn’t respond when asked questions while walking out of the clubhouse.

The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday night on its Web site that Rogers was going, and wouldn’t be deterred by boos.

“People are going to do whatever they are going do to do,” Rogers told the newspaper by phone. “I’m going because I was voted in by the players and I earned it. I want the players to know their vote means a lot to me. I know how the players feel and if I thought it would benefit them if I didn’t go, I wouldn’t go.”

Rogers has continued to pitch while the players’ association appeals his 20-game suspension and $50,000 fine from commissioner Bud Selig for shoving two cameramen last month. Rogers’ contract includes a $50,000 bonus for being an All-Star.

Rangers spokesman Gregg Elkin said he didn’t ask the pitcher what his plans were, and major league baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said as far as he knew, Rogers would be in attendance.

Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira, the AL starter Tuesday night, expected to see his teammate in Detroit. Rangers shortstop Michael Young and second baseman Alfonso Soriano are also All-Stars.

“He made his own decision. He definitely wants to be there,” Teixeira said. “That’s great. The more Rangers, the merrier.”

The newspaper reported that Rogers didn’t make a formal announcement about attending the All-Star game because he didn’t want to give the impression his decision was out of the ordinary.

After pitching seven innings to beat Toronto on Saturday night, Rogers (10-4, 2.54 ERA) said he felt like he deserved to go. He was voted in by the players for the second year in a row, his third All-Star selection in his 17 seasons.

“I know that I belong there without a doubt,” he said. “Even though there’s other opinions out there, I really don’t give them much weight. But players put me in there. They voted me in there, so I know it’s one thing I deserve without a doubt, and that has a lot of weight.”

Rogers, speaking to a group of reporters after a game for the first time this season, also said he didn’t want to be a distraction to the game and the other players there.

In his first start at home since his videotaped tirade June 29, Rogers was greeted by a mostly supportive response from Rangers fans. Cheers overwhelmed an audible chorus of boos.

Rogers said he didn’t know what to expect and that the reaction surprised him. After getting through an emotionally charged first inning in which he gave up three runs, he didn’t allow another run. The Rangers led 12-3 when he left after seven innings, and won 12-10.

“Just hearing what they did was moving without a doubt,” Rogers said. “It took my focus off for a little while. After that, I almost really didn’t care about the game.”

It was Rogers’ first start at home since June 17, when he beat Washington for his career-best ninth straight victory but broke a small bone in his non-pitching hand when he punched a cooler in frustration after leaving in the eighth inning with a 4-1 lead.

After giving up six runs in 3 1-3 innings at Los Angeles in his next start, he skipped his turn at home against the Angels. The day after the missed start, Rogers shoved the two cameramen when he walked onto the field for pregame stretching.

When reading a two-page, handwritten statement Wednesday, Rogers apologized to his teammates, family, fans and the cameramen who have filed assault reports against him with police. He didn’t explain his actions or take questions then, and offered no explanation Saturday night.

AP-ES-07-10-05 2142EDT


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