“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.

Bumgarner: dirt bike adventure was “definitely not the most responsible decision”

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Madison Bumgarner talked to the press yesterday about his dirt bike injury and its fallout.

While there is some speculation that the Giants may change their approach to Bumgarner’s contract situation at some point as a result of all of this, yesterday Bumgarner noted that the organization has been supportive as have his teammates. He said he apologized to them as well for an act he characterized as “definitely not the most responsible decision.”

As for the wreck itself, Bumgarner was a bit embarrassed to say that it wasn’t the result of doing anything cool or spectacular on the bike. Sounds like he probably just laid the thing down. Guess it makes no real difference given that he’s injured either way, but you’d hope to at least get a cool story out of it. Alas.

Here’s video of him talking to the press. The best and most accurate takeaway from it: when he says “it sucks.” Yep.

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cubs 14, Pirates 3: The Chicago Bears won only one game by as big a margin all last season as the Cubs won by here. Jason Heyward hit his third home run in four days and drove in four runs overall. He and his rebuilt swing are batting .294/.342/.456 with three homers and 16 RBI in 18 games.

White Sox 12, Royals 1: Both Chicago teams scored a couple of touchdowns last night. The White Sox just need a better placekicker for the PATs. DH Matt Davidson homered, doubled and drove in four. Davidson leads the White Sox in home runs with four and is tied for the team lead with 14 RBI. He’s not even an everyday player.

Orioles 6, Rays 3: Baltimore was down 3-1 on a crappy night, weather-wise, at Camden Yards. Then Hyun Soo Kim and Jonathan Schoop hit homers in the sixth followed by an Adam Jones two-run homer in the seventh too chase Chris Archer. Archer after the game:

“There was a few pitches I wish I could have back,” Archer said. “That’s baseball. Going into my next start, I plan on executing at a higher level. Even if it is just three or four pitches I have to execute, it has to be done.”

I would like to see one of those graphs which track how often words are used but only for major league pitchers’ use of the word “execute.” I bet it’s almost at zero until about 2000-03 or so, and then it shoots way the hell up. Probably all traceable to some pitching coach who decided to make himself sound more scientific. Everyone’s “executing” pitches these days. Very few guys are “throwing” them.

Rockies 8, Nationals 4: The Nats’ seven-game winning streak comes to an end. The Rockies snapped it by coming from behind. They were down 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth when Mark Reynolds hit a two-run homer to bring them close. The following inning Charlie Blackmon hit a two-run shot of his own to give Colorado a lead they would not relinquish. Blackmon said the pitch was in his “where I hit balls far” zone. See, isn’t that way more evocative than “executing” pitches? Bring more vernacular to the discourse, pitchers. It plays way, way better than this faux precision jazz.

Brewers 11, Reds 7: Eric Thames continues his early season rampage. Two more homers here, a solo shot in the first and a two-run blast in the second. The second one gave Milwaukee a five-run lead. Cincinnati would threaten for a brief period but the Brewers put up ten runs on Amir Garrett before the end of the fourth inning and that’s just too dang much to overcome. Had a conversation with a big Reds fan yesterday who was cautiously optimistic about his team’s early season play and asked me if it was sustainable. I told him “the pitching will be exposed soon.” I didn’t realize how soon it’d be.

Twins 3, Rangers 2: One hit — a three-run double from Brian Dozier in the fifth — was all Minnesota would get and all they would need. The hit was preceded by Martin Perez walking the bases loaded. The batters: the 6, 8 and 9 hitters. That’s . . . bad.

Diamondbacks 7, Padres 6: Zack Greinke allowed one run over six and struck out 11. He’s had one clunker on the year — five runs allowed to the Dodgers on April 14 — but otherwise Greinke has been the Greinke of old this season: a 2.93 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and 31 strikeouts to six walks in 30.2 innings.

Angels 2, Blue Jays 1: Jesse Chavez tossed six innings of one-run, four-hit ball. The Blue Jays have scored four runs or less in 14 of their 18 games this season. That’s not good. The Angels’ runs came from a Mike Trout triple followed by an Albert Pujols single in the fourth and Cameron Maybin scoring on a fielder’s choice with a diving slide to beat the throw to the plate in the fifth.

Giants 2, Dodgers 1: Matt Cain was excellent, tossing six shutout innings, but Hyun-Jin Ryu was almost as good, allowing only one run over six. Ultimately bad base running dooms Los Angeles. Chris Taylor was thrown out stealing in the eighth inning with Corey Seager at the plate. Then Justin Turner was picked off of second to end the game.