Joey Votto leads starters for NL

Updated: July 2, 2012, 10:53 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Big-hitting Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds will be joined by three San Francisco Giants in the starting lineup for the National League in the All-Star Game.

The rosters for the All-Star Game in Kansas City on July 10 were announced Sunday.

Votto was picked by fans to start at first base. Catcher Buster Posey -- the top NL vote-getter -- outfielder Melky Cabrera and third baseman Pablo Sandoval of the Giants also were chosen to get starting spots.

Outfielders Matt Kemp of the Dodgers and Carlos Beltran of St. Louis were chosen, along with shortstop Rafael Furcal of the Cardinals and Dan Uggla of Atlanta.

All-Star manager Tony La Russa and his staff will choose the designated hitter.

Washington fastballer Stephen Strasburg and Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey also were among the 66 players chosen Sunday.

Atlanta veteran Chipper Jones, who plans to retire after this season, and Nationals teen Bryce Harper were left off -- for now, anyway. They are among five candidates for the last NL spot, with fans able to vote online through Thursday.

Arizona second baseman Aaron Hill, Atlanta outfielder Michael Bourn and St. Louis third baseman David Freese, MVP of last year's World Series, are the other three on the ballot.

At 40, Jones is a seven-time All-Star and plans to retire after this season. Banged up, the Atlanta third baseman has managed to hit near .300.

"This being my last year, it would be fun to go. I'd love to take my kids," Jones said.

At 19, Harper started the season in Triple-A. The Washington outfielder has dazzled since his promotion with his bat, arm and flat-out hustle.

"I'm an old-timer, so I'd probably lean toward Chipper," NL manager Tony La Russa said on the TBS selection show.

Giants ace Matt Cain, who pitched a perfect game in June, made the NL pitching staff.

Few of the races for starting slots were close. Kemp edged Milwaukee's Ryan Braun by 100,000 votes for the third spot in the NL outfield -- Kemp, beaten out by Braun for the NL MVP award last year, is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring and looks doubtful to play.

Jones This being my last year, it would be fun to go. I'd love to take my kids.

-- Retiring 3B Chipper Jones

Braun leads the NL in home runs. He was the league's top vote-getter last year, but may have been hurt by drug allegations.

Braun or perhaps Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen could wind up starting in Kemp's place.

"I've always been a person that wanted something because I earned it and that's what people wanted," McCutchen said. "It would be awesome to get that but for me I'd still be feeling like I took someone else's place because someone got hurt."

Dickey, at 37, made his first All-Star team. He leads the majors with 12 wins and could become just the second knuckleballer to start an All-Star game. Dutch Leonard did it in 1943, STATS LLC said.

"It's an honor for every person who's ever helped me along the way and every fan that believed that special things could happen if you apply yourself," Dickey said. "So it's a need to be able to celebrate that with a network of people.

Strasburg is 9-3 with a 2.81 ERA and tops the majors in strikeouts for the NL East-leading Nationals. Last season at this time, he was working his way back to the big leagues while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

"It's going to be a tremendous experience, and it's a huge honor for me. It's amazing to think where I was a year ago, so it's great to see all the hard work has paid off, but it's not done," he said in Atlanta. "It's only the halfway point of the year. We've still got a long ways to go."

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.

Sandoval was picked for the NL at third base despite missing a month with a broken hand and not matching the stats of Wright.

"I'm surprised I made it," said Sandoval, popular for his "Kung Fu Panda" persona. "He's been having a great year but the fans gave me the votes. I can't thank them enough."

Wright was diplomatic about the result.

"That's the way the system is. I understand how the system works and I respect that system. Pablo's having a very good year. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed that I don't get a chance to start, but I'm going to do everything I can to help win that game," he said.

Posey, back from a devastating injury last season, beat out Philadelphia's Carlos Ruiz, the league's leading hitter. Wright and Ruiz made the NL team as reserves.

"This is hard to wrap my head around," Posey said. "I watched all the All-Star games and home run derbies when I was a kid. It's surreal I get to play in one and get to watch the home run derby."

The fans, players and managers combined to pick 14 first-time All-Stars in the NL, including somersaulting Cincinnati reliever Aroldis Chapman and San Diego closer Huston Street.

"No way. Really?" Street said.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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