Josh Hamilton highlights AL starters
Josh Hamilton is set to lead a Texas parade to the All-Star Game.
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Hamilton drew a record total of more than 11 million votes, and the slugger was among seven Rangers chosen Sunday as All-Stars. Three Yankees also made the American League starting lineup for the showcase July 10 in Kansas City.
"I don't think the Texas Rangers have to apologize because we've got good players," AL manager Ron Washington of Texas said. "I certainly didn't pick my guys being selfish, I picked them very deserving of being All-Stars, bottom line."
The league that wins the All-Star Game gains home-field advantage in the World Series. The NL won last year, then St. Louis became the ninth straight home team to win Game 7 in the Series.
Hamilton hit four homers in a game earlier this season and leads the majors in RBIs.
"It's just a blessing, man," Hamilton said. "It just means a lot to have fans vote you in, and to get to that many votes is obviously pretty special, so I'm excited to go and I'm excited to play so people can watch."
It's Hamilton's fifth-straight appearance in the All-Star Game and he's been voted a starter by the fans all five years.
"It never gets old," Hamilton said. "I think the first time you're overexcited because you don't know what to expect. When you've done it more than once, you know how exhausting it is, but at the same time how appreciative you are to be there. It's just as exciting now as it was the first time."
Texas will have a team-record three starters -- Hamilton in the outfield, Adrian Beltre at third base and Mike Napoli at catcher. A postseason star last year, Napoli has started only about half the time at that spot this year, but still easily outdistanced Minnesota's Joe Mauer.
It's just a blessing, man. It just means a lot to have fans vote you in, and to get to that many votes is obviously pretty special, so I'm excited to go and I'm excited to play so people can watch.” -- Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton
"No, it's not awkward, the fans voted for him," Washington said. "He's an All-Star, he's going to go to the All-Star Game. Who's to say that Napoli may not be the MVP?"
Second baseman Ian Kinsler, shortstop Elvis Andrus, starter Matt Harrison and reliever Joe Nathan also made the AL roster from Texas. The two-time AL champions entered Sunday with a major league-best 50 wins.
"You look up and down our lineup and we've been in the World Series the last two years in a row, and there's a reason," Hamilton said. "It's not just one player, but multiple players that have got us there."
Derek Jeter became a 13-time All-Star shortstop and will start for the AL with Yankees teammates Robinson Cano at second base and Curtis Granderson in the outfield. Injured New York pitcher CC Sabathia was picked, too, and will attend the festivities but not play.
"It's an honor, especially throughout the years the position I played and all the great shortstops that have been out there," Jeter said.
Prince Fielder of Detroit will start at first base. He was the MVP of last year's All-Star Game while playing in the NL for Milwaukee.
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The stage is set for an All-Star showdown at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Which league has the better roster? Which side will win the Midsummer Classic?
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"Thrilling, everytime," Fielder said.
There were nine first-timers in the AL, including designated hitter Billy Butler from the host Royals. Twenty-year-old Angels rookie outfielder Mike Trout, who leads the AL in hitting at .339, drew more than 800,000 write-in votes. Every team gets at least one All-Star.
The AL and NL each have one spot left, with fans voting online through Thursday. The five candidates for the final AL roster spot are all right-handed pitchers: Texas rookie Yu Darvish and fellow starters Jake Peavy of the White Sox and Jason Hammel of Baltimore and relievers Jonathan Broxton of the Royals and Ernesto Frieri of the Angels.
Washington also said he felt White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski deserved to be on the roster.
"I consider him a winning player," Washington said. "He beats you mentally, he beats you physically, so I feel really bad for Pierzynski."
Said Pierzynski: "If he felt that bad, he would have put me on the team."
"He had an opportunity to do it. He didn't do it," he said.
Information from ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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