Mauer, Pujols lead All-Star voting
NEW YORK -- 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.
AL MVP catcher Joe Mauer was announced Sunday by Major League Baseball as the fans' top choice for the July 13th All-Star Game in Anaheim, Calif. Albert Pujols earned the most votes in the National League.
Strasburg's 100 mph fastball has captivated fans around baseball since the Washington Nationals called the right-hander up June 8, but NL manager Charlie Manuel would like to see the 21-year-old settle into his role as an ace before making the Midsummer Classic.
"He got quite a bit of consideration," Philadelphia's Manuel told TBS during the selection show. "He is going be an All-Star for a long time. What does he have, five starts? I just felt there are other guys who have started 18 to 20 games. I just felt, 'leave him alone and let him get used to the major league level.' "
Strasburg watched the selection show on a clubhouse TV, but was called away by Nationals management after the first couple of pitchers were selected.
"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.
Stark: Several Grievous Omissions
While we all know some of these injustices may be righted by the 34th-man vote, injury replacements or possibly divine intervention, it's still frustrating to look at the All-Star rosters and have so little trouble picking them apart, writes Jayson Stark. Story
Heyward, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a deep bone bruise in his left thumb, said earlier this week he wouldn't try to play in the game. However, he now says he may be able to play. Heyward was to have the cast removed Sunday, and Braves general manager Frank Wren said Heyward has a chance to play only if he can take batting practice when the Braves play at the Mets on Friday through Sunday before the break.
The other AL starters: New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and shortstop Derek Jeter; Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria; Rangers designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero; and Texas' Josh Hamilton, Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki and Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford in the outfield.
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.
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's has pressed to make that deal look good, but he's settling in," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "When you sign a deal like that you're going to catch some extra attention, that's just the way it is. He's shown a lot of toughness and he's on his way to a solid season."
All-Star rosters were increased by one player to 34 this year, but there are always complaints about who's absent. Blame that on all the factors that go into picking the squad -- every team must be represented, managers must deal with their own players, the need to have enough players at each position, nagging injuries and more.
The Braves and Cardinals each had five All-Stars to lead the NL.
Ken Griffey Jr., who retired in Seattle last month, received more than 1 million votes. The 13-time All-Star drew over 50 million votes during his 22-year career.
Fans have the final say on the one remaining roster spot in an Internet runoff between five players for each league.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.