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Latinos take a stand

Arizona law may cause boycott next year

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Yovani Gallardo is firm. Even if he’s fortunate enough to make the All-Star team again next summer, he’ll skip it.

“If the game is in Arizona, I will totally boycott,” the Milwaukee Brewers pitcher said Monday.

A year before Phoenix is set to host baseball’s big event, the state’s new immigration law kept drawing the attention of major leaguers.

Kansas City reliever Joakim Soria, who leads the majors with 25 saves, said he would support a Latino protest and stay away. Detroit closer Jose Valverde can see himself steering clear, too.

“It’s a really delicate issue,” said Toronto outfielder Jose Bautista, who leads the majors with 24 home runs. “Hopefully, there are some changes in the law before then. We have to back up our Latin communities.”

“If I do get chosen, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he said.

About three dozen protesters held signs Monday one block from the hotel where Major League Baseball held its welcoming news conferences. The demonstrators said they had over 100,000 petitions asking commissioner Bud Selig to move the 2011 All-Star game out of Arizona.

Another protest was planned outside Angel Stadium before tonight’s game.

Selig has not spoken directly on the subject. Asked in May about calls to shift next year’s game, he gave a defense of baseball’s minority hiring record. Selig did not take questions at Monday’s All-Star introductory event.

Arizona’s much-debated measure takes effect July 29. The statute requires police, while enforcing other laws, to ask about a person’s immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.

The players’ union has already condemned the law.

Tags: baseball, MLB