ALL-STARS: Fan voting led by Mauer, Pujols
Continued from C1
Texas could get a franchise-record sixth player in the game if third baseman Michael Young wins the AL Internet balloting for the final spot. Young is up against Boston’s Kevin Youkilis, Chicago’s Paul Konerko, New York’s Nick Swisher, and Minnesota’s Delmon Young.
The World Series champion New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have six All-Stars each for the July 13 game in Anaheim, Calif.
Gold Glove center fielder Michael Bourn will represent the Houston Astros on the National League squad. Bourn leads the league in steals with 25.
The biggest snub on either side might have been Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto, who is top-five in every power category in the NL. Votto, who has 19 homers, 57 RBIs and a .572 slugging percentage, is one of five NL Internet candidates to earn the last bid.
Rookie pitching sensation Stephen Strasburg also will have to wait at least another season before he gets the nod. Strasburg has barely pitched a month for Washington, compiling a 2-2 record, 2.45 ERA and a stunning 53 strikeouts in 362⁄ innings.
“He got quite a bit of consideration,” said NL manager Charlie Manuel of Philadelphia. “He is going be an AllStar for a long time. What does he have, five starts? I just felt there are other guys who have started 18 to 20 games.”
Strasburg’s competition was formidable. In the year of the pitcher, no-hit aces Ubaldo Jimenez and Roy Halladay lead a spectacular NL staff. Jimenez is 14-1 with a 2.27 ERA and Halladay 9-7 with a 2.42. Then there’s Josh Johnson (83, 1.82) and Adam Wainwright (12-5, 2.24).
AL MVP catcher Joe Mauer was the fans’ top choice. Albert Pujols earned the most votes in the National League.
In the closest voting, the Mets’ David Wright overtook the Phillies’ Placido Polanco in the final week to win the NL starting third baseman spot.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi made several difficult decisions in finalizing the AL squad. He left off Andy Pettitte and took teammate CC Sabathia, both 10-game winners, and selected slugger Alex Rodriguez, who only has 12 homers but 61 RBIs.
Among the other players having strong seasons who got left off are Kansas City’s David DeJesus (.325) and Billy Butler (.320), Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey (10-2) and San Diego pitcher Mat Latos (9-2).
One surprising pick was St. Louis’ Matt Holliday. In the first year of a seven-year, $120 million deal, Holliday is batting .209 with runners in scoring position and has 39 RBIs — fourth-best on the team.
“I think he has pressed to make that deal look good, but he’s shown a lot of toughness,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.
Cincinnati’s Arthur Rhodes made his first All-Star team at age 40. In his 19th season, Rhodes has a 1.09 ERA in 37 appearances.