Yankees send three to All-Star Game
A-Rod tops all vote-getters; Jeter, Posada join third baseman
NEW YORK -- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter steamrolled their paths toward the All-Star Game in San Francisco, tallying enough votes to finish first and second, respectively, among all Major League leaders.
The voting was less certain for Jorge Posada, who made it into the Midsummer Classic as an American League reserve.
Because the votes that spurred the catcher on to the Bay Area were cast by his fellow big leaguers, they're just as meaningful -- if not more -- as the accolades accumulated by A-Rod and Jeter.
"The other two were pretty much a given, but Jorgie -- the fact that he was voted in by the players -- I think it's quite an honor," said Yankees manager Joe Torre.
"When your peers vote for you, that means they respect what you're doing, and I think that's important. I know he feels good about it."
Posada has arguably been the Yankees' most irreplaceable player in the first half, as the 35-year-old backstop has improved his physical conditioning to enjoy one of his finer offensive seasons.
Drawing regular work behind the plate, Posada ranks fifth in the AL with a .333 batting average and could be the first Yankees catcher to finish in the top 10 in AL hitting since Thurman Munson in 1978.
"Jorgie's having a Johnny Bench-like year," Rodriguez said recently. "He's playing tremendous defense, he's been an anchor in the middle of our lineup on both sides of the plate and he's been phenomenal."
Posada has proved durable as well, which the Yankees have needed -- a steady, guiding influence behind the plate, particularly in the first weeks of the season, when the Bombers trotted out seven different rookie pitchers to make starts.
Then again, Posada's reliability has never been in question; Posada has never landed on the disabled list in his career and has started at least 120 games behind the plate in each of the last seven seasons.
"He's having a great year -- he's having a tremendous year," Jeter said. "He deserves to go. He's been one of the most consistent players we've had. He definitely deserves to go."
Ever the team player, Posada couldn't fully enjoy his selection over Cleveland's Victor Martinez. Posada was understandably sour after the Yankees' 11-5 loss to the Oakland Athletics on All-Star Selection Sunday.
"I'm happy, but I really can't think about the All-Star Game right now," Posada said. "It's really frustrating what's going on."
As the Major League votes leader with 3,890,515 votes cast for the All-Star Game, Rodriguez echoed similar thoughts, downplaying his 11th selection -- but first time leading balloting -- in favor of the club's fortunes.
"It's hard to think about that right now, but it's a pretty neat experience," Rodriguez said on Sunday. "It's a lot of votes, a lot of people. That's a lot of fans, so it's pretty cool."
A-Rod set a new personal high for RBIs in a single month during his incredible April, when he slugged a Major League-leading 14 home runs and drove in 34 runs. Rodriguez came right back and equaled the mark with another 34 RBIs in June, leading the Majors.
The National League should beware. Rodriguez was tied with former Seattle Mariners teammate Ken Griffey Jr. for the Interleague lead with eight home runs this season and led the Majors with 23 RBIs, his numbers buoyed by a red-hot trip to San Francisco in late June.
For all of Rodriguez's theatrics and fireworks, Jeter has been a quietly consistent complement in the Yankees' lineup. Jeter ran off three separate hitting streaks of 17 games or more in the first half of the season, making him the first player since 1950 to do so.
Jeter logged 3,199,571 votes to win starting honors in San Francisco, the third time he will start in the All-Star Game.
"Obviously, it feels good that people appreciate how you play the game," Jeter said.
Though he has been nicked and bruised all season, most recently fighting a bout with knee tendinitis, Jeter hasn't seen his reliability affected, batting a team-leading .335 with five home runs and 38 RBIs.
"If anyone's saying they don't want to go to the All-Star Game, they're lying to you," Jeter said. "It's an honor and it makes you feel good."
Left-hander Andy Pettitte, right-hander Chien-Ming Wang and second baseman Robinson Cano were among those not selected to head to San Francisco. The voting ends a three-year All-Star streak for Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.
"I'm sure he's going to enjoy his time with the family," Torre said of Rivera. "He wasn't holding his breath at this point in time. This is one of those things that's out of your control, and there's not much you can do about it."
The 2003 season marked the introduction of the Player Ballot to the All-Star selection process. Each league's players, managers and coaches elect eight position players and eight pitchers from their league. Catchers and infielders who finish in the top two at their position on the Player Ballot, and outfielders among the top six, are assured of making the All-Star team. In instances where the winners of the Player Ballot are also fan-elected starters, the player with the next highest amount of votes on the Player Ballot makes the All-Star Team. Eight pitchers -- five starters and three relievers -- become All-Stars through the Player Ballot. The manager of each World Series team from the prior season -- in this year's case, Detroit's Jim Leyland and St. Louis' Tony La Russa -- then fills the remaining slots on their respective teams, ensuring that one player from all 30 clubs is named to the All-Star Game.
The 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET on July 10. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.