Seven set to head to the All-Star Game; Darvish in contention for final spot

The Texas Rangers today had a club record seven players selected to play for the American League in the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which will take place on Tuesday, July 13 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

The complete American and National League teams were announced today by Major League Baseball.

Outfielder Josh Hamilton, who received a record number of votes in the fan balloting, was elected as a starter for the fifth consecutive year. He will be joined in the A.L.'s starting lineup by catcher Mike Napoli and third baseman Adrian Beltre, giving the Rangers three elected starters for the first time in club history. Second baseman Ian Kinsler was selected by vote of the league's players, managers, and coaches. Shortstop Elvis Andrus, left-handed pitcher Matt Harrison, and right-handed pitcher Joe Nathan were named as manager's selections by A.L. skipper Ron Washington.

In addition, right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish was named as one of five pitchers in contention for the 34th and final spot on the American League team. That All-Star will be selected in on-line fan balloting in the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote sponsored by Firestone on texasrangers.com and mlb.com that begins at 1:00 p.m. CT today and concludes on Thursday, July 5 at 3:00 p.m. CT.

In addition to the web, fans can use their mobile phones to cast votes via the mobile web at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote sponsored by Firestone mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for Darvish, simply text A2 to 89269. Standard rate messaging and data fees may apply. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text A2 to 101010 to vote for Darvish.

To encourage fans to vote for Darvish on-line, the Rangers are offering an All-Star sweepstakes prize of a suite for 20 for one select Sunday Rangers game in 2012. Fans will be automatically registered for the sweepstakes each of the first 25 times they vote for Darvish in the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote sponsored by Firestone at texasrangers.com. THERE IS NO LIMIT TO THE NUMBER OF TIMES THAT FANS MAY VOTE IN THE ALL-STAR GAME FIRESTONE FINAL VOTE. However, fans will be registered to win for the sweepstakes just the first 25 times they vote for Darvish. All rules for the sweepstakes can be found on texasrangers.com.

Hamilton earned his fifth consecutive All-Star start by receiving 11,073,744 votes, easily surpassing the previous record of 7,454,753 set by Toronto Jose Bautista in 2011. The five All-Star starts are the second most ever for a Ranger to Ivan Rodriguez' nine at catcher, all consecutive from 1993-2001. Alex Rodriguez (3 from 2001-03) is the only other Ranger to start more than once in the Midsummer Classic. Hamilton's streak of five consecutive elected starts are the second longest among A.L. All-Stars to seven for Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (was replaced in 2011). Hamilton is 4-for-11 with an RBI in starts in center field in 2008 at Yankee Stadium, 2009 at Busch Stadium, and 2010 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim and in start in left in 2011 at Chase Field. He is batting .319 with 25 homers and a major league best 73 RBI in 72 games this season.

Beltre received 4,613,180 votes in fan balloting at third base to outdistance Detroit's Miguel Cabrera. This is Beltre's third All-Star selection as he was 0-for-1 in a reserve role with Boston in 2010 and 1-for-2 as the starter for the injured Alex Rodriguez with the Rangers in 2011 at Arizona. Beltre becomes the first Ranger ever elected to start an All-Star game at third base. In addition to Beltre in 2011, two Texas players have actually started an All-Star game at third: Alex Rodriguez in 2001 (Cal Ripken started at short for one inning in final ASG) and Michael Young in 2009 (for the injured Evan Longoria). He is batting .328 with 14 homers and 52 RBI over 75 games in 2012.

Napoli earned 4,317,718 votes to finish ahead of Minnesota's Joe Mauer for the starting catchers spot. The only other Ranger to start at All-Star Game behind the plate is Ivan Rodriguez, who accomplished that feat in nine consecutive years from 1993-2001. Napoli is hitting .238 with 12 homers and 30 RBI in 68 games this season.

Kinsler, who finished second in the A.L. player voting at second base to the fan elected starter, Robinson Cano of New York, 582-219, will be going to the All-Star Game for the third time. He was also a reserve in 2008 at New York (1-5) and 2010 at Anaheim (0-1). Kinsler is batting .276 with 9 homers and 40 RBI in 77 games and leads the majors with 60 runs scored.  

Andrus is a manager's selection to the 2012 All-Star Team after finishing second in the fan balloting at shortstop behind Jeter. He was 0-for-1 as a reserve in 2010 at Anaheim in his only previous All-Star appearance. Andrus is batting .305 with one homer, 31 RBI, and 16 stolen bases in 76 games this season.

Harrison is a first time All-Star and is just the Rangers fourth left-handed pitcher to ever be selected for the Midsummer Classic, joining Rick Honeycutt (1983), Kenny Rogers (1995, 2004, 2005), and C.J. Wilson (2011). Cliff Lee also represented Texas in 2010 but was named to the team as a Seattle Mariner prior to his trade to the Rangers. Harrison is 11-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 16 starts this season and is tied for the A.L. lead in wins.

Nathan will be going to the All-Star Game for the fifth time after representing the Minnesota Twins in 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009. He pitched in each of those games with a 2.25 ERA (1 ER/4.0) and four strikeouts. Nathan is 0-2, 1.87 with 18 saves in 34 appearances this season.

Darvish is seeking to become just the fourth Rangers rookie to ever be named to an All-Star Team, joining catcher Jim Sundberg is 1974 and pitchers Jeff Zimmerman in 1999 and Neftali Feliz in 2010. The right-hander is 10-4 with a 3.57 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 95.2 innings in his first season with Texas.

Darvish joins RHP Jonathan Broxton of the Royals, RHP Ernesto Frieri of the Angels, RHP Jason Hammel of the Orioles, and RHP Jake Peavy of the White Sox as the candidates for the A.L.'s final spot on the 13-man pitching staff. This marks the 3rd time that the Rangers have had a player in the final All-Star roster spot on-line voting: Ian Kinsler in 2009 and Michael Young in 2010.

Washington became the first Rangers manager ever to guide an All-Star Team in 2011 and is the first A.L. manager to be at the helm in consecutive Midsummer Classics since the Yankees Joe Torre from 1999-2002. He will be joined in Kansas City by the six members of his coaching staff: Dave Anderson, Scott Coolbaugh, Andy Hawkins, Mike Maddux, Jackie Moore, and Gary Pettis.

ALL-STAR NOTES: This is the fifth consecutive year the Rangers have had at least one fan elected starter in the All-Star Game…it is the 9th time that the Rangers have had at least four All-Star selections, the 4th in the last 5 years…Texas had the previous club record 6 All-Stars (including Lee) in 2010, 5 in 2004 and 2011, and 4 each in 1989, 1998, 1999, 2005, and 2008….club has had at least 2 All-Stars in 9 of the last 10 years beginning in 2003…it is the 3rd consecutive year and 7th time overall that 2 Texas pitchers have been selected as All-Stars.