DETROIT -- Joaquin Benoit was nearly out of baseball four years ago, sidelined by career-threatening surgery on his shoulder that cost him a year of rehab work to return to health. He had to sign a Minor League deal in 2010 to get back in the game. He has had worse things happen than an All-Star snub.
Benoit will survive a third-place finish in the American League All-Star Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com. He would've loved to join the half-dozen Tigers going to the Midsummer Classic, but he appreciated the outpouring of support he received from Tigers fans and others across baseball to try to get him there.
"I'm glad the fans voted," Benoit said Thursday afternoon as he awaited the result. "I'm glad that they did the best they can."
For someone who has been a middle reliever for most of his career, it was a change. But that was the point of manager Jim Leyland's move to get middle relievers and setup men more recognition with the Final Vote, even though Benoit became Detroit's closer a few weeks ago.
Benoit had a back-and-forth race with Boston's Koji Uehara for the third spot in the five-man AL contest, but never quite caught up to the first-place duel between Toronto's Steve Delabar and Yankees setup man David Robertson. Delabar won with 9.6 million votes.
Benoit dominated the vote in Michigan and Northwest Ohio, according to a county-by-county breakdown of votes. He also picked up a lot of votes in California once the Tigers and Giants teamed up to promote a Benoit ticket with Giants outfielder Hunter Pence.
Nationally, he only picked up support in scattered areas, so he couldn't quite carry the vote, despite the national reach of Tigers fans.
"Detroit fans were really good about it," Benoit said. "They showed me a lot of support."
Benoit initially was reluctant to promote himself, but eventually came around to have fun with it. He wore "Vote Benoit" T-shirts the last few days once the Tigers returned home to face the White Sox, and he took part in a Twitter chat thanking fans for voting for him.
With the Final Vote over, the Tigers' All-Star contingent is likely set at six, tying their largest groups from 1984 and 1985. Though injuries and All-Stars who pitch on Sunday could still lead to a Tigers pitcher getting named as a replacement, there's a large field of candidates for that.
Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2013 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com during the All-Star Game. The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.