final vote

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


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:


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.


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.

Diamondbacks fire pitching coach Mike Harkey

Oliver Perez, Mike Harkey
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Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks have fired pitching coach Mike Harkey following a season in which the staff ranked ninth among NL teams in runs allowed.

That actually represents a big improvement from last season, when the Diamondbacks allowed the second-most runs in the league in Harkey’s first year as pitching coach, but the Tony La Russa-led front office has decided to make a change.

Prior to joining the Diamondbacks two offseasons ago Harkey served as the Yankees’ bullpen coach from 2008-2013. He pitched eight seasons in the majors.

Nats expected to consider Cal Ripken for the manager job

Cal Ripken Jr

FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the Nationals are expected to consider Cal Ripken Jr. for their managerial vacancy. Ripken, of course, was recently reported to have been considered by the club the last time the job was open.

This could be a courtesy. And if you’re a Nats fan, you have to hope it is, right? Because the single biggest argument in favor of Matt Williams when he was hired was that he was a top player in his day, wasn’t too far removed from his playing career and could be a good clubhouse guy who understood what made major leaguers tick. His lack of experience was brushed off. All of which would be the same thing for Ripken, except he doesn’t even have the coaching experience Williams had and is even farther removed from his playing days.

I know he’s famous and everything, but if the Nationals’ 2015 season is evidence of anything, perhaps it should be evidence that sometimes it’s useful to have a manager who has actually, you know, made a pitching change once in his professional life.