NEW YORK – Josh Hamilton is set to lead a Texas parade to the All-Star game. Now, fans will decide whether Chipper Jones gets one final appearance or whether its time for teen sensation Bryce Harper.
Hamilton drew a record total of more than 11 million votes, and the slugger was among seven Rangers chosen Sunday as All-Stars. A trio of San Francisco Giants rallied in the last week to claim spots while three Yankees also made the starting lineup.
I dont think the Texas Rangers have to apologize because weve got good players, AL manager Ron Washington of Texas said. I certainly didnt pick my guys being selfish, I picked them very deserving of being All-Stars, bottom line.
Washington fastballer Stephen Strasburg and Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey were two of the 66 players chosen by fans, managers and big leaguers for the showcase July 10 in Kansas City. So was 20-year-old Angels rookie outfielder Mike Trout, who leads the majors in hitting and drew more than 800,000 write-in votes.
Few of the races for starting spots were close and there seemed to be little complaining about the fans choices. OK, sure, David Wright couldve gotten the nod over Pablo Sandoval.
But there certainly will be campaigning this week when it comes to Jones and Harper after they were left off – for now, anyway.
The NL and AL each have one spot left, with fans voting online through Thursday can select one of five candidates in both leagues. Jones and Harper are two of the NL possibilities.
Im an old-timer, so Id probably lean toward Chipper, NL manager Tony La Russa said on the TBS selection show.
The league that wins the All-Star game gains home-field advantage in the World Series. The NL won last year, then St. Louis became the ninth straight home team to win Game 7 in the Series.
Sandoval was picked for the NL at third base despite missing a month with a broken hand and not matching the stats of Wright.
Im surprised I made it, said Sandoval, popular for his Kung Fu Panda persona. Hes been having a great year but the fans gave me the votes. I cant thank them enough.
Buster Posey, back from a devastating injury last season, was the NLs top vote-getter and beat out Philadelphia catcher Carlo Ruiz, the leagues leading hitter. Wright and Ruiz made the NL team as reserves.
This is hard to wrap my head around, Posey said. I watched all the All-Star games and home run derbies when I was a kid. Its surreal I get to play in one and get to watch the home run derby.
Hamilton hit four homers in a game earlier this season and leads the majors in RBI.
How can you not love Josh Hamilton? Washington said.
Texas will have a team-record three starters – Hamilton in the outfield, Adrian Beltre at third base and Mike Napoli at catcher. A postseason star last year, Napoli has started only about half the time at that spot this year.