final vote

“Final Vote” balloting now open for 2012 All-Star Game

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Major League Baseball revealed its 2012 All-Star rosters Sunday on TBS. But not everything is set for next Tuesday night’s game in Kansas City.

Over the next week, online ballots can be cast to send one additional player from each league to participate in this year’s Midsummer Classic.

MLB calls it the “Final Vote,” and it’s now open.

Your options are:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Jonathan Broxton, RP, Royals
The 28-year-old right-hander has rebuilt his brand this season in Kansas City, currently boasting a 2.05 ERA and 20 saves in 30 2/3 innings as the Royals’ ninth-inning man. Broxton would join teammate Billy Butler as the only two hometown representatives at Kauffman Stadium.

Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers
The Japanese right-hander told reporters last week that he didn’t feel deserving of an All-Star nod, but he might get one anyway. Darvish has posted a stellar 3.57 ERA and 10.0 K/9 through the first 95 2/3 innings of his major league career. The Rangers spent over $110 million on him this past winter.

Ernesto Frieri, RP, Angels
Frieri has surrendered zero runs and just six hits in 23 1/3 innings out of the Angels’ bullpen since being acquired from the Padres in early May. He has solidified Anaheim’s ninth-inning role.

Jason Hammel, SP, Orioes
Hammel carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning earlier this season against the Twins and has a 3.29 ERA through 15 starts (93 innings) for second-place Baltimore. The 29-year-old starter would join O’s catcher Matt Wieters and outfielder Adam Jones out in western Missouri. Jim Johnson also got the nod.

Jake Peavy, SP, White Sox
The 31-year-old right-hander is back to his old tricks, with a 2.96 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 101/24 K/BB ratio through 112 2/3 innings this season. The American League Central-leading White Sox already have left-handed starter Chris Sale, first baseman Paul Konerko and designated hitter Adam Dunn ticketed for Kansas City. Peavy is also plenty deserving.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Michael Bourn, OF, Braves
Bourn is having the best offensive year of his career, already featuring a career-high seven home runs, a solid .307/.355/.442 batting line, 22 stolen bases and 52 runs scored through 77 games. The 29-year-old center fielder has been to one All-Star Game, in 2010 as a member of the Astros.

David Freese, 3B, Cardinals
Freese burst onto the scene last October with his record 21 postseason RBI and has followed that up with a decent first half. The third baseman entered play Sunday with 13 home runs, 48 RBI and an .812 OPS.

Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
The American League has a 20-year-old on its roster (Angels outfielder Mike Trout). Will the National League get Harper, who’s only 19? The former No. 1 overall pick has already become a major-league sensation just 56 games into his career and is backing up the hype with impact play all around the diamond.

Aaron Hill, 2B, Diamondbacks
Hill has already hit for the cycle twice this season and entered play Sunday with a cool .301/.362/.516 batting line. His numbers may be inflated by the batter-friendly confines of Arizona’s Chase Field, but there is no denying that he’s been a big-time run producer in the first half of the 2012 campaign.

Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves
This is the sentimental pick, as Jones has announced that he plans to retire at the end of the year. He’s hitting .291/.372/.450 with six home runs, six doubles and 28 RBI in 172 plate appearances this season.

Someone stole Jose Fernandez’s high school jersey after a vigil

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09:  Jose Fernandez #16 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Marlins Park on July 9, 2015 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.

That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”

The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.

 

What Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher would you ask to pitch today?

Mike Mussina
Associated Press
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In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?

The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.

My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.

If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.

Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.

So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?