Longo finishes 5th in AL Final Vote, thanks fans

Longo finishes 5th in AL Final Vote, thanks fans

BOSTON -- Evan Longoria lost out in the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote as Toronto's Michaels Saunders claimed the last spot on the American League All-Star team's roster. Still, the Rays' third baseman enjoyed the campaign.

"We had fun with it," Longoria said. "I appreciate the organization getting behind me and making as good of a push as we could. It's a fun process. Hopefully next year we get a chance to get in.

"The fans that have always supported the Rays and myself definitely came out in full force. ... Thanks to everybody who did vote. I know we had a ton of fans who were in the stands at home the last couple of games that I saw on their phones, so I thank them for that."

Saunders tallied 17.7 million votes and held off Houston's George Springer, who led all 10 players in votes from the mobile text ballot, to become the second Blue Jays player (Steve Delabar, 2013) to win the Final Vote. Saunders and Springer were followed by Dustin Pedroia (Boston), Ian Kinsler (Detroit) and Longoria.

"Congratulations to [Saunders]," Longoria said. "He had the whole country supporting him. He's Canadian-born himself. So deservedly so. He's having a great year. I'm happy for him."

Rays manager Kevin Cash called all of the Final Vote candidates "very deserving" to be All-Stars.

"We're biased here [with the Rays] because of Longo, and what he means to our team and our organization," Cash said. "To Michael Saunders' benefit, he had a whole country behind him."

Longoria allowed that he'd still like to be an All-Star if for some reason a roster spot opens on the AL squad.

"If I got a phone call and somebody let me know that there was an opportunity to go I would definitely take it," Longoria said. "I'm not got to say no to an opportunity to be an All-Star. But at this point, I think the focus has changed to some vacation time with my family."

Longoria said he is happy with what he's accomplished in the first half of the season.

"You love to get some recognition for what you've done," Longoria said. "Ultimately it comes down to the respect my teammates have for me and the coaching staff. And the fans.

"I can't force people to vote. I can't force myself into the game. So for me, personally knowing that the team was in support of me going to the All-Star Game. That they acknowledged that I had a good first half is really all I can ask for."

On Tuesday, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. Coverage for the 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday and will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.