Sunday, July 3, 2011
Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran to ASG
By Matt Ehalt
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
The New York Mets' Jose Reyes will start at shortstop for the National League in the All-Star Game -- if he can play.
Reyes overcame an approximately 245,000-vote deficit in the last week of voting to beat out Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and gain the starting bid. Florida's Hanley Ramirez started at shortstop for the National League each of the past three All-Star Games.
"It's great, it's everybody's dream to be that," Reyes said. "You want to be in the All-Star Game and start the game, but just to be there with all the stars it's something I'm never going to forget."
Of course, it's unknown at this point whether Reyes will be able to play in the game. He left Saturday's game against the Yankees with tightness in his left hamstring and was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain. Reyes previously missed the 2006 and 2010 games because of injuries.
"Everybody wants to be there and wants to play, but like I said, this injury is part of the game," Reyes said. "There are still a few days left for the All-Star Game. I'm happy that I'm going to be there but right now I'm focused on trying to get into the lineup as soon as possible."
The Mets' leadoff hitter will be making his second All-Star Game start and it's his fourth selection to the game, which is the most in team history for a shortstop.
Reyes is hitting a league-best .354 with a league-high 124 hits. He leads the National League with 65 runs scored and is second in baseball in steals with 30. He's a NL MVP candidate at this point.
Joining Reyes in Arizona will be right fielder Carlos Beltran, who made the squad for the sixth time and his fifth time as a member of the Mets. His five appearances as a Mets outfielder are second behind Darryl Strawberry, who was named seven times.
"It feels great," Beltran said. "It's a great honor. Every time you are being selected to the All-Star Game it's an honor and the only guy I can thank for that is God because all the effort that I have put into my rehab, training, Puerto Rico, and everything I have done to be in the situation where I am, it's all Him."
Beltran is hitting .280 with 12 home runs and 54 RBIs this season. He said this All-Star Game is rewarding because of all the effort he put into trying to come back and be in the field.
"I told him today when I told him he was on the All-Star team how proud I was of the way he's gone about everything with this ballclub. From the first day he showed up in spring training, he's been one of the most professional people I've ever been around," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I'm so happy for him. For a guy that we were hoping we were going to play three days a week, the guy's on the All-Star team, that tells you the way he's approached it. I'm really happy for him."
Matt Ehalt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.