A mix of veterans and first-timers highlight this year’s All-Star rosters

As the National League and American League get set to play in the 83rd midsummer classic next Tuesday atKansas City.

On theALteam, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will be making his 13th All-Star appearance while Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz will be making his eighth and Texas Rangers centerfielder Josh Hamilton his fifth.

The NL club has St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran playing in his seventh All-Star Game and New York Mets third baseman David Wright will be participating in his sixth.

Among the NL players who are making their first All-Star appearance are catcher Buster Posey and outfielder Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants; pitchers R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets and Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies and first baseman Bryan LaHair of the Chicago Cubs.

AL players making their first trip to the All-Star game include Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli, Oakland A’s pitcher Ryan Cook, Kansas City Royals DH Billy Butler and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout.

Jeter is back in the All-Star Game after sitting out last year’s contest, which he missed due to exhaustion.

Posey, the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, has recovered from a broken ankle last season to start at catcher this year. He received 7,621,370 votes, breaking Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun’s NL record of 5,982,004 votes last season.

The fan vote gaveHamilton11,073,744 votes, breaking the record of 7,454,753 set in 2011 by Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista.

Major League Baseball also set a record with 391.2 million online votes from 34.9 mlb.com  ballots cast. Fans voted in the starters, while pitchers and reserves were selected by players, managers and coaches.

Not including the Final Vote for one more player from each league, the Rangers led all teams with seven All-Star selections, followed by the Yankees, Angels, Giants and Cardinals with four.Texashas three starters along with the Yankees and Giants.

This season’s All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium will be the third inKansas City. The first one, at Municipal Stadium in 1960, was one of two held that season, and won by the NL 5-3. The last All-Star Game inKansas Citywas played at Royals Stadium in 1973, also won by the NL, that time by a 7-1 score.

The NL snapped a 13-year winless streak (0-12-1) in 2010, and will try to win its third consecutive All-Star Game.

StatsWatch: Who has the most hits with the bases loaded this season? Here’s the list (through Monday) —

  • Luke Scott, Rays, 5
  • Nelson Cruz, Rangers, 5 (includes 2 grand slams)
  • Andre Ethier, Dodgers, 5
  • Alejandro De Aza, White Sox, 5
  • Todd Helton (and 8 others),Rockies, 4 (includes 2 grand slams)

Diamond Notes: Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp plans to return to the lineup after the All-Star break. Kemp, who has been out since May 30 with a strained left hamstring, is on a rehab assignment with Class A Rancho Cucamonga. He’s planning on participating in the Home Run Derby during the break, and could be back with the Dodgers on July 13 against San Diego at Dodger Stadium…Dontrelle Willis, the NL Rookie of the Year in 2003, is retiring. Willis, a left-handed pitcher, won just 26 games with a 5.02 ERA in his last six seasons withFlorida,Detroit,Arizona andCincinnati. He was cut byPhiladelphia during spring training and signed a minor league contract withBaltimore. He went 0-3 with an 8.53 ERA for Triple-A Norfolk. Willis, 30, was 72-69 with a 4.17 ERA in his career. He was Rookie of the Year with the Marlins in 2003 when he went 14-6, and was second in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2005 with a record of 22-10 and a 2.36 ERA. Willis, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound native ofOakland, was a two-time All-Star, and was decent at the plate, hitting .244 with nine homers and 39 RBIs.

Copyright © 2012  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media. 


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