ARLINGTON (AP) – Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington gets to take four of his own players with him to Arizona for the All-Star game. He only had to pick one of them.
By the time Washington got his managerial picks for the AL team, reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton had already been voted in as a starter by the fans, while third baseman Adrian Beltre and designated hitter Michael Young were chosen on the players ballot. Washington picked left-handed starter C.J. Wilson with one of his seven selections.
“C.J. is very deserving, and there wasn’t a whole lot of choices on left-handed relievers, and C.J. has the experience of doing that and he’s deserving as far as I’m concerned to be on the All-Star team, so I chose him,” Washington said Sunday. “I don’t think there’s a guy out there that works as diligent and more into his craft in trying to be the best that he can possibly be than C.J. He’s well deserving of it.”
It is the first All-Star selection for Wilson, the former closer who was 8-3 with a 3.14 ERA going into his start Sunday night against Florida.
Washington picked Wilson over Yankees starter CC Sabathia, who was tied among the AL leaders with 11 wins. Six New York players made the AL roster, with four in the starting lineup.
Wilson earned a spot in the Rangers’ rotation last year, when he went 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA in 33 starts as Texas went to its first World Series.
“He’s having an All-Star year. He did pitch for us in the World Series and did a great job. He was a big part of us getting there,” Washington said. “I just have to keep saying it, he deserved to be on the All-Star team.”
Hamilton, coming off a two-homer game Saturday night, was voted in as a starter for the fourth consecutive season. The only Texas player to start more All-Star games was catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who started nine times from 1992 to 2001.
Despite missing six weeks with a broken bone in his upper right arm, Hamilton is hitting .301 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs in 46 games.
“Reigning MVP, talented,” Washington said. “He’s back rolling and he’s certainly playing like an MVP. He’s certainly very important to our team and my opinion is he’s very deserving to being back on the All-Star team.”
It is the seventh All-Star selection for Young, who this season switched from third base to being primarily a DH when the Rangers signed Beltre last winter. Rodriguez (10 times) is the only Ranger to go to more All-Star games than Young, who was MVP of the 2006 All-Star game when he had a game-winning, two-run triple.
Young was a five-time All-Star selection as a shortstop, then made the team as a third baseman in 2009. Though he made it this time in a different capacity, he said it feels the same to be picked again.
“They’re all sweet, they’re all equally sweet,” Young said.
Young was hitting .313 through 82 games, and Washington could use him to play any of the infield positions in the All-Star game. Young, a former All-Star shortstop, has played first, second and third for the Rangers this season.
“It will be huge simply because Michael can handle every position on the infield, so that gives me versatility right there,” Washington said. “That’s exactly what he’s done for the Texas Rangers so far this year. He’s handled many positions and it hasn’t affected the style of play Michael goes out there and plays with.”
Beltre, hitting .265 with 14 homers and 61 RBIs, is an All-Star for only the second time in his 14-season career. His only other selection came last season for Boston.
On the day before last year’s All-Star game, AL manager Joe Girardi of the Yankees announced that Beltre was going to be replaced by Young. That was a premature announcement since Beltre planned to play even though he had left the last game before the break with a strained left hamstring.
There shouldn’t be any such miscommunication this time since his manager is the AL leader.
Fans chose Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees as the starting AL third baseman, but Beltre was tops on the players ballot by a 530-281 vote over A-Rod.
“That means a lot,” Beltre said.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)