Monday July 2, 2012

NEW YORK -- Josh Hamilton is set to lead a Texas parade to the All-Star game. Now, fans will decide if Chipper Jones gets one final appearance or whether it's time for teen sensation Bryce Harper.

Hamilton drew a record total of more than 11 million votes, and the slugger was among seven Rangers chosen Sunday as All-Stars. A trio of San Francisco Giants rallied in the last week to claim spots while three Yankees also made the starting lineup.

"I don't think the Texas Rangers have to apologize because we've got good players," AL manager Ron Washington of Texas said. "I certainly didn't pick my guys being selfish, I picked them very deserving of being All-Stars, bottom line."

Washington fastballer Stephen Strasburg and Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey were two of the 66 players chosen by fans, managers and big leaguers for the showcase July 10 in Kansas City. So was 20-year-old Angels rookie outfielder Mike Trout, who leads the majors in hitting and drew more than 800,000 write-in votes.

Derek Jeter became a 13-time All-Star shortstop and will start for the AL with Yankees teammates Robinson Cano at second base and Curtis Granderson in the outfield. New York pitcher CC Sabathia was picked, too, but is injured.

Few of the races for starting spots were close and there seemed to be little complaining about the fans' choices. OK, sure, David Wright could've gotten the nod over Pablo Sandoval.

But there certainly will be campaigning this week when it comes to Jones and Harper after they were left off -- for now, anyway.

The NL and AL each have one spot left, with fans voting online through Thursday can select one of five candidates in both leagues.

The league that wins the All-Star game gains home-field advantage in the World Series. The NL won last year, then St. Louis became the ninth straight home team to win Game 7 in the Series.

Sandoval was picked for the NL at third base despite missing a month with a broken hand and not matching the stats of Wright.

Buster Posey, back from a devastating injury last season, was the NL's top vote-getter and beat out Philadelphia catcher Carlos Ruiz, the league's leading hitter. Wright and Ruiz made the NL team as reserves.

Hamilton hit four homers in a game earlier this season and leads the majors in RBI.

Texas will have a team-record three starters -- Hamilton in the outfield, Adrian Beltre at third base and Mike Napoli at catcher. A postseason star last year, Napoli has started only about half the time at that spot this year, but still easily outdistanced Minnesota's Joe Mauer.

Second baseman Ian Kinsler, shortstop Elvis Andrus, starter Matt Harrison and reliever Joe Nathan also made the AL roster from Texas. The two-time AL champions began the day with a major league-best 50 wins.

Posey, Sandoval and San Francisco outfielder Melky Cabrera overcame deficits to win starting spots. Giants ace Matt Cain, who pitched a perfect game in June, made the NL pitching staff.

The fans, players and managers combined to pick 14 first-time All-Stars in the NL, including somersaulting Cincinnati reliever Aroldis Chapman and San Diego closer Huston Street.

"No way. Really?" Street said.

There were nine first-timers in the AL, including designated hitter Billy Butler from the host Royals. Every team gets at least one
**All-Star.

The AL starters: Fielder, Cano, Jeter, Beltre, Hamilton, Granderson, Napoli, Toronto outfielder Jose Bautista and Boston DH David Ortiz.

The NL starters: Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto, Atlanta second baseman Dan Uggla, shortstop Rafael Furcal and outfielder Carlos Beltran of St. Louis, Kemp, Sandoval, Posey and Cabrera.