In the year of the pitcher, no-hit aces Ubaldo Jimenez and Roy Halladay lead a formidable National League All-Star staff.
Rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg will have to wait at least another season before he gets the nod.
American League MVP catcher Joe Mauer was announced Sunday by Major League baseball as the fans’ top choice for the July 13 All-Star Game in Anaheim, Calif. 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.
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Each squad still has one more spot to fill in their 34-man rosters. Fans will make the decision, choosing from a list of five candidates in each league in an Internet runoff.
Strasburg’s 100 mph fastball has captivated fans around baseball since the Washington Nationals called up the right-hander June 8, but NL manager Charlie Manuel would like to see 21-year-old settle into his role as an ace before making the Midsummer Classic.
“I looked there and I felt like, in my opinion, and I’m not his manager, but at the same time he’s a young kid,” Manuel said. “I say let him pitch and let him get his feet on the ground in the major leagues and kind of let him earn his way.”
Strasburg watched the selection show on a clubhouse TV.
“I thought he had a pretty good shot,” Nationals closer and All-Star pick Matt Capps said. “He’s one of the top pitchers in baseball right now.”
Halladay pitched a perfect game in his first season with the Phillies, and Jimenez had one of the four no-hitters this year and is off to a remarkable 14-1 start with a 2.27 ERA for the Colorado Rockies.
Halladay’s teammate Chase Utley was voted as the starting second baseman for the NL, but he is out with an injured thumb. He will be replaced by Atlanta’s Martin Prado.
Injured Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was chosen as a reserve by his peers. His spot was taken by the Mets’ Jose Reyes.
The other starters who will try to help the NL win its first All-Star Game since 1996 are: Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina; Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez; and Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun, Los Angeles’ Andre Ethier and Atlanta’s Jason Heyward in the outfield.
Heyward, on the 15-day disabled list with a bruise in his left thumb, said he might play in the All-Star Game, using the appearance like a rehab start.
Milwaukee pitcher Yovani Gallardo strained a left side muscle and was removed from a start only hours after being picked to his first All-Star team. … Shin-Soo Choo may be the next Indians player to need surgery. Choo went on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right thumb. He hopes to avoid surgery that would sideline him a couple of months. … The Houston Astros placed infielder Geoff Blum on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow injury and recalled outfielder Jason Bourgeois from Triple-A Round Rock. … The Dontrelle Willis experiment is over for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team designated the big left-hander for assignment and recalled young left-handed reliever Jordan Norberto from Triple-A Reno. … Yankees outfielder Marcus Thames has been activated from the disabled list after rehabbing from a strained right hamstring. Outfielder Chad Huffman was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.