Evan Longoria, who won the final spot on the 2008 American League All-Star roster by winning the "Final Vote" competition, is leading third basemen in fan balloting by a whopping 400,000 votes this year.
05/29/2009 3:12 PM ET
Longoria can pack early this year
2008 'Last Vote' winner well ahead in '09 ASG voting
"That's awesome," Longoria told the St. Petersburg Times. "Obviously, like I always say, the personal stuff is a great thing to have, and it's very enjoyable for me, when I'm able go home and sit and relax and really think about it. You've got to thank the fans, and the team. You can't do it without the exposure this club is getting now with our year last year.
"Hopefully, I get a chance to be there again, and [for] 10 more years, and we continue to play well."
Tejada is NL Player of the Week: Miguel Tejada was named the National League player of the week last week. The Astros' shortstop hit .522 (12-for-23) with three home runs, three doubles and four RBIs.
"I feel good because, you know, for me it's something exciting and emotional," Tejada told the Houston Chronicle. "You know that in this league there are a lot of good players. You know this is because of hard work and sacrifice."
Tejada, who turned 35 on Monday, said his hard work during the offseason is paying off.
"I'm happy because, with the work I've been doing lately, the work I did in the offseason is showing," he said. "I think that's what helps me and gives me mental strength daily."
Burke finds success with 'no regrets': Coming off a 2007 season at Class A Lake Elsinore in which he had a 5.23 ERA, Greg Burke considered retiring from baseball.
"I really had no role," Burke told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I was older than most of the other players at my level. You couldn't call me a prospect, and I had a degree from Duke [in sociology with a minor in business]. I was asking myself, 'What am I doing here?' I fully expected that the following spring the Padres were going to release me."
The Padres didn't release Burke, and he never retired. Now, he is a key member in the bullpen for San Diego.
"'No regrets' became my motto," Burke said. "I decided to throw all of myself into a training program before the 2008 season. When I look back now, I have to wonder what it might have been like if I took that approach from the beginning."
Stavinoha's week full of highlights: Nick Stavinoha had three straight game-winning RBIs and hit his first Major League home run this week to help catapult the Cardinals back into first place in the NL Central.
"I'm just trying to do my job. I'm not trying to do more than that," Stavinoha told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "My job is to have good at-bats. I'm going at-bat to at-bat.
"I'm comfortable at the plate. I'm grinding out at-bats. I'm fighting to get a better pitch to hit all the time and to hopefully take advantage of the mistakes they make."
Martinez proud to make debut: Twenty-year-old Fernando Martinez, the Mets' top prospect, made his Major League debut earlier this week.
"Today was unbelievable for me," Martinez told Newsday. "I work for all my life for that moment. That's my life."
Martinez was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to replace Ryan Church, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Martinez was batting .291 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs for Buffalo.
Kinsler eyes another All-Star appearance: Ian Kinsler, an All-Star last year for the American League, is leading second basemen in votes again this season.
"There are so many good second basemen, so someone's going to get the short end of the stick," Kinsler told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I think it's exciting that people are noticing. I just appreciate the fans."
Bruney gets good news on elbow: Brian Bruney received some good news when Dr. James Andrews found no structural damage to the Yankee reliever's injured right elbow during an examination on Wednesday. Bruney has been diagnosed with a right flexor muscle strain.
"We're happy the diagnosis isn't a surgical situation," general manager Brian Cashman told the New York Daily News. "It's just how long it will take for him to heal."
Fox uses swing to get promotion: Jake Fox was leading the Pacific Coast League in batting average (.423), home runs (17) and RBIs (50) when he was recalled to the Cubs this week.
"Any time you start off like that, it's a great surprise," Fox told MLB.com. "I feel like it's carried over from the end of last season to winter ball and Spring Training. I've gotten my swing to where I need it to be. I feel very consistent at the plate. I feel I have a consistent approach every time."
Herges relishes bullpen success: Veteran reliever Matt Herges has been effective out of the bullpen for the Indians.
"I relish every day up here," he told MLB.com. "I just hope to continue to help, because there's nothing better than being on a winning team. I've been on teams that have won 100 games, I've been to the World Series, and I've also been on terrible teams. And there's nothing better than when you're winning and can go to that next level."
Volquez appears set for Monday start: Edinson Volquez had a good bullpen session on Wednesday and could start against St. Louis on Monday night.
"I wasn't even counting. I was just throwing like crazy - bam, bam, bam," Volquez, speaking of his session, told MLB.com. "[Pitching coach Dick Pole] told me afterward it was 78 pitches. I threw all of my pitches."
Morneau won't miss the Metrodome: You can count Justin Morneau among those ready to move to Target Field next season.
"We've hit in this place [at the Metrodome] long enough where there's no batter's eye," Morneau told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "I'd call this place a pitcher's park. Obviously you don't want it to be a joke, but if it plays a little more like a hitters' park than this place does, I don't think that's a bad thing."
Garko taking positive approach: In or out of the lineup, Ryan Garko doesn't change his hard-working approach.
"I just keep working," Garko told MLB.com. "I'm just happy to play [four games] in a row. Even when I don't, my confidence never changes, and my work ethic never changes. I take a lot of pride in how I swing the bat. I know no one [on the outside] sees it, but I'm in the cage getting after it. I just want to put up solid at-bats, regardless of the results."
Dillon gets recalled, placed into lineup: Joe Dillon, recalled to replace the injured Jason Bartlett, was the Rays' designated hitter on Wednesday.
"It's nice to get in the lineup, anytime," Dillon told the St. Petersburg Times. "Really, I've been kind of a bench player the last year and a half in Milwaukee. It's nice to get in there and help contribute and win some games."
Glavine closer to return: Tom Glavine pitched five scoreless innings and earned his first Minor League victory in 22 years in a rehab start in Triple-A on Thursday. Glavine will make one more appearance in the Minors before returning to Atlanta.
"I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I'm 100-percent thrilled with my location," Glavine, who has been on the disabled list all season while recovering from shoulder and elbow surgeries last August, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I'm 100-percent thrilled with my stuff but not necessarily with my location."
Coghlan making solid impression: Chris Coghlan has impressed Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez.
"He gives you good at-bats, he walks, and I just love the way this guy runs the bases aggressively," Gonzalez told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "It's the whole package, really."
Giants relievers become fast friends: Californian Justin Miller and Alabaman Brandon Medders have different backgrounds but have become close friends as Giants relievers. The pair bonded after being among the last cuts of Spring Training and returning by the fourth game of the season.
They've both been effective, too. They have stranded 26 of the 35 runners they inherited while limiting hitters to sub-.200 averages with runners in scoring position.
"We thought one of the two deserved [to make the club out of Spring Training]," Miller told the San Francisco Chronicle. "If you root for a competitor to fail, your head is not in the right place. You're not confident in yourself and it's going to be a long year. I hope everybody goes up there [to the Majors], throws up zeros and makes millions of dollars."
Weaver continues to master White Sox: With a win on Wednesday night, Jered Weaver is now 4-0 with a 0.52 ERA lifetime versus Chicago.
"Weav is starting to figure some things out," manager Mike Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times. "His fastball command is really what has impressed me. [He's] using the breaking ball, and that changeup is still dynamic. He's putting pitches together better. He's quietly having a terrific season."
Breslow's brains, arm being put to use: Craig Breslow, who majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale but put aside a potential medical career after being drafted in the 26th round by the Brewers in 2002, finds himself in the A's bullpen this season.
"I'm the expert opinion on everything," Breslow told the San Francisco Chronicle with a laugh.
"It wasn't until I was playing baseball in the big leagues that I thought I could play baseball in the big leagues," Breslow said.
-- Red Line Editorial