Reyes wins shortstop race; Beltran joins
Dynamic infielder named All-Star for fourth time in his career
NEW YORK -- Throughout this season, superlatives have come raining down upon Jose Reyes, perhaps the game's most exciting superstar. Yet throughout weeks of All-Star balloting, Reyes was never able to wrest the voting lead away from Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
Until the end, that is. Reyes overtook Tulowitzki in the final week of voting and on Sunday was named the National League's starting shortstop for the Midsummer Classic.
Outfielder Carlos Beltran was also named to the team as a reserve.
Leading the NL in batting average, hits, triples and runs scored, and ranking in the top 10 in stolen bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, Reyes is in the midst of one of the best half-seasons in Mets history. This is his fourth All-Star selection and his second start.
"Everybody dreams of that," Reyes said. "You want to be in the All-Star Game and starting the game. Just to be there with the other stars, it's something that I'm going to never forget."
The 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will take place July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix. It will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. 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 is a question, however, as to whether Reyes will be able to play in Phoenix after leaving Saturday's game with tightness in his left hamstring. If Reyes cannot go, Tulowitzki would likely replace him as the starter, just as Reyes replaced the injured Tulowitzki on the NL roster one year ago. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, elected to the team as a reserve, is also an option.
An MRI exam taken on Sunday revealed a Grade 1 strain of the hamstring, and the Mets are optimistic that Reyes will be able to play as soon as Tuesday. But they may not be willing to jeopardize his health in the All-Star Game.
"Everybody wants to be there, wants to play," Reyes said. "Injuries are part of the game, but there are still a few days off until the All-Star Game."
Batting .354 with 30 stolen bases, 65 runs and more walks than strikeouts, Reyes has captivated his team and the league alike, prompting teammates, coaches and opposing players to call him one of the more remarkable players they have seen. Earlier this weekend, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez called him "the best player in the world."
In recent weeks, Reyes has drawn multiple statistical comparisons to Hall of Famer Ty Cobb -- and they have been justified. With 15 triples, Reyes is on pace for the fourth most in big league history and the most since 1912.
It is largely for those reasons that Reyes was able to record over 1 million more votes than Tulowitzki over the final three days of online balloting, making up a quarter-million-vote deficit to win by nearly 800,000.
Beltran's selection came as more of a surprise. Finally healthy after years of knee issues, Beltran is batting .280 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs as an everyday right fielder. This is his sixth career All-Star selection, his first since 2009 and his third as a reserve.
"It's a great feeling," Beltran said. "Being able to be in the All-Star Game, being around so many great players in the league, it's a blessing, so I'm going to enjoy it."
"From the first day he showed up in Spring Training, he's been one of the most professional people I've ever been around," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Beltran. "I'm so happy for him. For a guy we were hoping we were going to play three days a week, the guy is on the All-Star team. That tells you the way he's approached it."
Having already decided the starters, fans will now have 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 continues until 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 7. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
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. During the All-Star Game on July 12, fans 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.