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Thursday, July 10, 2008
Longoria, Hart elected All-Stars in online fan balloting

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Evan Longoria had big plans for next week's All-Star break -- a trip to Las Vegas with some friends.

Tampa Bay's rookie third baseman ended up with an even better trip to New York for the last All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium.

Longoria and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Corey Hart were elected All-Stars by fans in Internet balloting that ended Thursday.

"I'm sure they'll find a way to get to the game now," Longoria said of his abandoned buddies.

Hart got the news from Brewers manager Ned Yost as he walked into the Miller Park interview room with his two young children after Milwaukee's 11-1 win over Colorado. A couple minutes into his news conference, about a dozen of his teammates rushed into the room and sprayed Hart and his children with beer, loudly cheering his first-time selection.

Milwaukee supported the outfielder with its "I Hart New York" campaign, and Hart himself did several interviews a day to drum up support.

"It was a frustrating experience, but it paid off with all the campaigning. Now, it's worth it," said Hart, who hit his 15th homer in the Brewers' win Thursday and is batting .292 with 57 RBIs.

Longoria received 9 million votes for the AL spot and was followed by Jermaine Dye of the Chicago White Sox, Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees, Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles and Jose Guillen of the Kansas City Royals.

Longoria had a .281 average, 16 homers and 53 RBIs entering the AL East-leading Rays' game at Cleveland on Thursday night.

"He earned it," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "He made a strong push in the last month. It's quite a testament to him."

Hart got 8 million votes and was followed by the New York Mets' David Wright, Philadelphia Phillies' Pat Burrell, San Francisco Giants' Aaron Rowand and Houston Astros' Carlos Lee.

"Naturally, I'm disappointed," Wright said. "The only thing I'm concerned about now is helping us to get back to the postseason."

Major League Baseball said a record 47.8 million votes were cast, more than double last year's 23.1 million.

One more roster spot remained to be filled, with NL manager Clint Hurdle having to decide on a replacement for injured Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano. The Colorado Rockies' Matt Holliday, originally selected as a reserve, will replace Soriano in the starting lineup.