Once unknown, Frieri eyes Final Vote upset

Once unknown, Frieri eyes Final Vote upset

Once unknown, Frieri eyes Final Vote upset
CLEVELAND -- If Ernesto Frieri pulls off the upset, beating out four American League pitchers with more extensive resumes to win the Final Vote competition, he'll accomplish a little franchise history.

The Angels have had four other players in the All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by Firestone, which began in 2002, but none have won it. Not outfielder Darin Erstad in '02, not catcher Bengie Molina in '03, not pitcher Kelvim Escobar in '07 and not infielder Chone Figgins in '09 -- though Figgins was a last-minute injury replacement for Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.

But if Frieri does win -- beating out the Rangers' Yu Darvish, the Orioles' Jason Hammel, the White Sox' Jake Peavy and the Royals' Jonathan Broxton -- it'd only be the second-most surprising thing he's done this season.

First, of course, was going from a relative unknown with the Padres to a bullpen savior with the Angels, hurling 24 1/3 scoreless innings and going 10-for-10 in saves since being acquired in early May.

"If I get the chance to go, that would be amazing," said Frieri, who has struck out 42 batters and posted a 0.90 WHIP in that span. "If I don't, I'd be happy with it, because that means that I'm doing everything right, and I know that the guys that were selected for the All-Star team are doing unbelievable, too. I knew that it was going to be kind of hard, but I'm just hoping right now that fans vote for me, because I really want to go. If I don't, I'd be happy, too, because just for the fact that my name is on there is great."

Now in its 11th year, the Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began following Sunday's MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and continues until Thursday, July 5, at 1 p.m. PT. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.

To receive the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote presented by Firestone mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for Frieri, simply text message A3 to 89269. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010. Standard rates may apply.

Final Vote candidates
American League
P Jonathan Broxton, KC
P Yu Darvish, TEX
P Ernesto Frieri, LAA
P Jason Hammel, BAL
P Jake Peavy, CWS
National League
OF Michael Bourn, ATL
3B David Freese, STL
OF Bryce Harper, WAS
2B Aaron Hill, ARI

Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet, via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.

The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 4:30 p.m. PT. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes 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 14-day free trial of MLB.TV from July 6-20. 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 6 to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.

With 24 1/3 scoreless innings in 24 games since being acquired from San Diego on May 3, in exchange for infielder Alexi Amarista and Minor League pitcher Donn Roach, Frieri is approaching the club record of 34 1/3 shutout innings, set by Shigetoshi Hasegawa in 2000. He's also the first pitcher in Major League history with 42 strikeouts and no earned runs in his first 24-plus innings with a new club.

Since Frieri joined the Angels' bullpen, it's been a force.

"I didn't even know he was [when the Angels got him], but he's come in and been incredible for us," shortstop Erick Aybar said in Spanish. "And he's a good kid. He always has a good attitude, and I think that's great for a team, too."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.