Fans pick Ethier; Manuel picks Broxton
PHOENIX -- Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, who was voted in as a starter by the fans, and closer Jonathan Broxton, who was selected by manager Charlie Manuel, were named to the National League's 2010 All-Star team on Sunday, the first such honor for Ethier and the second for Broxton.
Dodgers left-handed setup man Hong-Chih Kuo didn't make the club, even though he has a 1.11 ERA in 24 appearances and opposing left-handed hitters are 0 for 26 with three walks and 12 strikeouts against him. Manuel chose two other middle relievers: Pittsburgh's Evan Meek, a right-hander who has a 0.98 ERA in 37 appearances, and Cincinnati's Arthur Rhodes, a lefty with a 1.09 ERA in 37 appearances.
Ethier finished second among NL outfielders, leapfrogging Atlanta's Jason Heyward by about 50,000 votes during the final week.
"It's a big honor to be singled out amongst all the good outfielders in the league and to be considered one of the top three by the fans," Ethier said. "It's definitely something special and something I never imagined happening. I was just trying to get here and play in the major leagues."
Ethier led all outfielders in votes by fellow players.
"I think that is a feather in your cap, too, the fact that you're recognized by your peers," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
Ethier finished with 2,784,419 votes overall, about 200,000 behind Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, and became the first Dodgers outfielder voted into a starting spot since Darryl Strawberry in 1991. The last Dodgers outfielder to be named to the All-Star team was Shawn Green in 2002.
Heyward, a rookie, won't be available to play in the game because he is presently on the Braves' 15-day disabled list.
Broxton made the All-Star team last year, also as a handpicked selection by Manuel, but couldn't pitch in the game because of inflammation in his right big toe.
"It was a great honor last year just to go and experience what I experienced," Broxton said. "I would have liked to have played, but I was hurt, and you have to look out for your team. You don't want to risk hurting anything. But I'm healthy now, so hopefully I can get in there and help the National League win."
Ethier got off to a sizzling start before breaking his right pinkie during batting practice before a game at San Diego on May 15. He spent two weeks on the disabled list at a time when he was hitting a league-best .392 with 11 doubles, 11 home runs and a league-leading 38 RBIs and had a .457 on-base percentage.
Since his return on May 31, though, Ethier has struggled, at least in a statistical sense. He was batting .246 through Saturday night's game -- leaving his overall average at a still-impressive .321 -- with two homers and 10 RBIs. But he had made countless outs on well-hit balls hit right at a defensive player or after being robbed of a hit by an outstanding defensive play.
Ethier also entered Sunday's game 14 for 42 (.333) over his previous 10 games, the apparent result of a lot of one-on-one work recently with Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly.
"Mechanics-wise, I'm feeling a lot more confident," Ethier said. "It's a lot more frustrating not knowing what you're doing [wrong]. Sitting down with Donnie and figuring it out makes me a lot more comfortable."
As for Broxton, he has a 2.08 ERA in 35 appearances and has converted 16 of his 18 save opportunities. He entered Sunday's game at Arizona with 50 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings.
Kuo said making the All-Star team wasn't even on his mind.
"I don't worry about that,'' he said. "Last year at this time, I couldn't even pitch, so I'm just trying to stay healthy."
Kuo missed almost three months last season, a period that encompassed the All-Star break, because of a left elbow strain.
One other Dodgers pitcher who might have warranted All-Star consideration was left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who is 8-4 with a 3.02 ERA in 17 starts, but Kershaw said he wasn't expecting to be chosen.
"There are just so many good pitchers in the National League this year," he said. "If a guy like [New York's Mike] Pelfrey didn't make it, then I knew it was going to be pretty tough for me. I had a little faint glimmer of hope, but I wasn't expecting it, so I'm not disappointed. I knew it was a long shot."Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.