CHICAGO -- There were many unknowns in the Oakland A's starting rotation when spring training began, and Justin Duchscherer was front and center among them.
Granted his wish to switch from relieving to starting, Duchscherer set about proving the A's made the right call.
He's done that convincingly through the season's first half, and Duchscherer was rewarded with the second All-Star Game invitation of his career. The right-hander was one of six selections of Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who will skipper the American League team in the July 15 showcase at Yankee Stadium.
Two San Francisco Giants pitchers, starter Tim Lincecum and closer Brian Wilson, made the National League team, which will be managed by the Colorado Rockies' Clint Hurdle.
"He earned it; he had a great first half," A's manager Bob Geren said of Duchscherer. "He's a definite All-Star."
Duchscherer last served as a full-time starter in Triple A in 2003, the season in which he got his first call-up with the A's. Oakland needed him in the bullpen, where he earned his first All-Star berth in 2005.
With the A's in need of rotation help heading into the season, they looked to Duchscherer, who long lobbied to start. But considering he was coming off hip surgery, it was anyone's guess how the experiment would go.
Duchscherer takes as much satisfaction in proving skeptics wrong as he does being chosen for the game.
"They said I couldn't get through a lineup two or three times," Duchscherer said. "If you can get people out, you get people out.
"Greg Maddux doesn't throw 100 (mph), but he's one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Sometimes, scouts will let a radar gun dictate what they think about a guy when they should just sit and watch the game."
There have been several pitchers throughout the years to be named an All-Star as a starter and reliever, but the natural transition seems to be starters who morph into relievers. Duchscherer has made the opposite transition.
The last pitcher to make the All-Star team as a reliever, then a starter was Derek Lowe with the Red Sox in 2000 and 2002.
Duchscherer didn't get into the 2005 All-Star Game. Though he's slated to start next Sunday against the Angels, just two days before the game, he assured he'll be available for an inning.
Lincecum (10-1, 2.49 ERA), who recently graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, made the NL team is his first full major-league season. The hard-throwing Wilson, the league leader in saves with 24, made the team as a first-year closer.
Bengie Molina, the veteran Giants catcher who has helped develop the two All-Star hurlers, didn't make the team despite a team-best 53 RBIs.
"I wasn't expecting it," said Molina, a two-time Gold Glove winner who made his big-league debut in 1998 and never has been an All-Star. "So I'm fine."
Molina was caught in a numbers crunch at catcher.
Among the four most deserving candidates -- Molina, the Chicago Cubs' Geovany Soto, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Russell Martin and the Atlanta Braves' Brian McCann -- the Giants catcher had the third-highest batting average (.293), the fewest home runs (six) but the most RBIs (53) in the fewest games (79).
The Sacramento Bee contributed to this report.