Major League Baseball unveiled the 2011 All-Star ballot on Tuesday for the July 12 game in Phoenix.
And, fear not, Sam Fuld did make the cut, as the league chose to list Johnny Damon at DH and Ben Zobrist at second base for the Rays.
So, head over and cast your vote. Or, better yet, unless you happen to be reading this from a ballpark, wait a couple of months since the season is still just four weeks old at the moment.
In the meantime, here’s my ballot, just for the fun of it.
C Joe Mauer
1B Miguel Cabrera
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
OF Jose Bautista
OF Josh Hamilton
OF Carl Crawford (Or Shin-Soo Choo or Ichiro)
DH Adam Dunn
C Buster Posey
1B Albert Pujols (Joey Votto can DH)
2B Rickie Weeks
3B Chipper Jones (One last start for a future HOF)
SS Troy Tulowitzki
OF Ryan Braun
OF Matt Holliday
OF Matt Kemp
Obviously, there are a couple of slow starters there, but that’s OK. One thing I don’t like: while I agree with the idea that the DH should be used in every All-Star Game, I’d rather it didn’t get a spot on the ballot. Adrian Gonzalez, Evan Longoria and Mark Teixeira are all likely to more deserving of that start than Dunn or David Ortiz. It puts the AL at a disadvantage that the NL can just slide Votto or Prince Fielder in there.
One other note: for the second year in a row, Detroit’s Brennan Boesch may very well be the most deserving player not on the ballot (though Jed Lowrie is right there, too). Last year, he wasn’t called up until April 23, so there was no helping that. This year, though, he was bypassed despite a .348 average in 69 at-bats. He ranks 11th in the AL in OPS.
With Game 1 of the Red Sox-Indians ALDS set to commence on Thursday, there’s no better starter for the job than Corey Kluber. The only question is whether or not the right-hander will be up to the task after sustaining a mild quadriceps strain earlier this week.
Indians’ manager Terry Francona appeared optimistic about Kluber’s chances of recovering in time for the Division Series, but admitted that he doesn’t have his rotation set in stone for the first couple of postseason games. Complicating matters is Monday’s potential make-up game between the Indians and the Tigers, which they’ll be forced to play if the outcome has bearing on playoff seeding.
Per MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, Francona doesn’t have a starter for the make-up game, either, though he clarified that rehabbing right-hander Danny Salazar would not be eligible. Salazar is still working his way back from a forearm injury in hopes of joining the Indians for their postseason run, and needs to toss another simulated game before he can be expected to return to the mound. Kluber, meanwhile, will throw off the mound on Sunday.
With Kluber or Salazar limping out of the gate, the Indians will likely have to fall back on right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Bauer is slated for Saturday’s face-off against the Royals and confirmed his willingness to pitch on short rest through the playoffs. The 25-year-old also spoke to the Indians about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, though it’s an option they appear unlikely to exercise. While Francona’s comments on Friday stressed the club’s patient approach toward their rotation, Bauer appeared revved and ready to go:
If it was up to me, […] I’d pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the ‘pen every game. In the playoffs, there’s really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I’ll be ready.
Matt Holliday might not have a landing spot with the Cardinals in 2017, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to hang his cleats up just yet. Prior to the Cardinals’ afternoon set against the Pirates on Saturday, the 36-year-old expressed his desire to further his career elsewhere, even if staying in St. Louis is not a possibility.
It’s been a down year for the outfielder, who batted .242/.318/.450 through 107 games before landing on the disabled list with a fractured right thumb. His 0.6 fWAR is the lowest mark of his career to date. Notwithstanding two injury-riddled seasons (he was sidelined through most of 2015 with a right quadriceps strain), he’s performed admirably for the Cardinals over the past eight years, putting up a .292/.379/.494 batting line, 156 home runs, and 26.8 fWAR with the club. With a return to full health, he might not be on the market for long.