D-backs' Kennedy a Final Vote candidate

D-backs' Kennedy a Final Vote candidate

D-backs' Kennedy a Final Vote candidate
OAKLAND -- If Ian Kennedy is to make the National League All-Star team he is going to need some help from fans.

The D-backs right-hander is one of five Final Vote candidates, along with Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino, Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier and Nationals first baseman Mike Morse.

Now in its 10th year, the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell, and it continues until 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, July 7. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.

Kennedy's exclusion was met with disappointment in the Arizona clubhouse.

"I was pretty surprised," D-backs right-hander Daniel Hudson said. "I think he was a no-doubter. That's just the way it goes sometimes. He should be on the team; it shouldn't even come down to the Final Vote, but hopefully the fans look at his numbers and see he deserves to be there and vote him in there in the end."

After a rough outing on Sunday -- in which he gave up seven runs in a loss to the A's -- Kennedy stands at 8-3 with a 3.38 ERA. Among NL starters, the right-hander ranks fourth with 122 1/3 innings pitched, is tied for ninth with eight wins, and is 10th with a .227 batting average against.

When the All-Star announcements were made Sunday, Kennedy was busy preparing for his start.

"I really didn't think about it at all when I got up," Kennedy said. "I didn't know when they were going to [announce] the teams, but when I heard about it, I mean, can't do nothing about it. Got to pitch better."

Kennedy is nonetheless excited about the possibility of the fans voting him into the game, though.

"It's just an honor to be in that, for at least my name to be brought up, rather than not have that chance at all," he said. "So it's pretty fun, especially since it's going to be in our hometown."

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he hopes Kennedy wins the Final Vote, but he does not think his hurler should need that to get to the game.

"You can make a case that he should have been picked, period," Gibson said. "He's certainly pitched well, he's been very consistent all year. It's up to the fans. You look at some of the guys he's up it against, it's certainly going to be hard, but he certainly deserves in my mind to be on that team."

Mobile voting in the U.S. is exclusive to Sprint, Nextel and Boost subscribers. To receive the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 1122. To vote for a specific player, simply text message your choice to 1122. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Msg&Data Rates May Apply. Mobile voting in Canada is open to all carriers; fans should text their choices to 88555. Std rates may apply.

The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevy via the 2011 All-Star Game MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.

"It would be really cool to see Arizona Diamondbacks fans all over the country, people in Arizona step up and really make an effort," second baseman Kelly Johnson said. "I hope a large effort is made to get as many fan votes as possible for him."

Outfielder Justin Upton was the lone D-backs player selected.

"We've got to get him in," Upton said of Kennedy. "Because he's been great for us."

The 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. (EDT)/5 p.m. (PDT).  ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage.  MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.

There will be an extra treat for fans who participate in the Final Vote. If you are not a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you are eligible to receive a 10-day free trial of MLB.TV from July 9-19. If you are a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will send an email on July  8 to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.

Kennedy became a father for the first time when his wife Allison gave birth to daughter Nora on April 24. The very next day, Kennedy tossed a three-hitter against the Phillies, striking out 10 without allowing a walk.

Since that time, Kennedy is 6-1 with a 2.39 ERA in 13 starts, and he is one of five NL pitchers to have worked eight or more innings without allowing an earned run at least three times.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @dbackswriter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.