D-backs looking for an All-Star starter
Team hopes at least one of eight candidates voted in by fans
PHOENIX -- It's been quite a while since the D-backs have had a player in the starting lineup for the All-Star Game, and whether they do this year is up to their fans.
Luis Gonzalez, thanks to a huge Internet push, was the last D-backs starter, when he got the nod in the 2001 game that was played in Seattle. Gonzalez also won the State Farm Home Run Derby that year.
The D-backs on this year's ballot include: Chris Snyder (catcher), Chad Tracy (first base), Felipe Lopez (second base), Stephen Drew (shortstop), Mark Reynolds (third base), Conor Jackson (left field), Chris Young (center field) and Justin Upton (right field).
Of the group, Lopez and Tracy are off to the best starts.
"I would certainly vote for them. I would say those two guys have been our two most consistent guys," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said. "Those guys are off to the best starts offensively."
While Tracy appears to finally be healthy after several years of battling knee problems, Lopez has performed well after being signed during the offseason when second baseman Orlando Hudson departed via free agency.
"He's got a very good understanding of what the pitcher is going to do that day and what he's going to try to do to him, and he doesn't try to do too much," Melvin said. "We've seen him hit a lot of balls up the middle, a lot of balls the other way, and when guys are trying to do too much, they're pulling off, and they are trying to hit home runs to the pull side, and he doesn't get caught up in that."
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 8:59 p.m. MST.
Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com.
The 80th All-Star Game on July 14 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.
Fans will be able to vote at Chase Field beginning Monday. In-stadium voting will end June 25.
In recent years, the D-backs have not garnered many votes. Last season, Reynolds had the highest finish of any D-backs player, coming in fifth at third base.
The D-backs had a pair of players, Dan Haren and Brandon Webb, selected to the game, which was played at Yankee Stadium. Haren tossed two scoreless frames, and Webb tossed one in the 15-inning contest won by the American League.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.