Yanks back Robertson in tight Final Vote race
Fans can help send stellar setup man to this year's All-Star Game
NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi is happy closer Mariano Rivera will get to pitch in the All-Star Game during the final season of his career, and he knows how deserving second baseman Robinson Cano is of his spot in the starting lineup.
But with a little more than a week remaining before the game takes place at Citi Field, the Yankees' manager is making a case to get a third player on the American League roster through the Final Vote. But Robertson needs help after the first voting release.
"I'm really hoping that David Robertson gets a chance. He's been so good for us, and I think he deserves a chance to go," Girardi said. "You can vote for him on yankees.com."
Robertson is one of five relief pitchers whom fans can vote for to take the final spot on the AL squad, along with the Tigers' Joaquin Benoit, the Blue Jays' Steve Delabar, the Rangers' Tanner Scheppers and the Red Sox's Koji Uehara.
In a wild opening to the AL race, Delabar is among four candidates to hold a lead. Uehara, Robertson and Benoit each have been in first and currently sit in second, third and fourth place, respectively. Remarkably, less than 600,000 votes separate the entire AL field, Delabar to Tanner Scheppers, who ranks fifth. More than 16 million votes are in. Tens of millions of votes, including Thursday's Twitter vote, are still to come.
Before the Yankees' game against the Orioles on Sunday, Girardi made his plea to the fans.
"Please go and vote as many times as you can," Girardi said. "This is a kid that's really deserving."
The good news for the Yankees' skipper: He'll definitely get some votes for Robertson from his own clubhouse.
"I'll go on and vote as many times as they let me," reliever Shawn Kelley said. "Hopefully, he's getting millions of votes out there, and ours won't even matter. But I'll go on there and vote for him, for sure."
AL CANDIDATES BY THE NUMBERS
His teammates sure think he's deserving. Rivera said Robertson has done a "tremendous job" this season, and center fielder Brett Gardner said he's shown how deserving he is of a spot in the All-Star bullpen throughout his whole career, not just this season.
Robertson is 4-1 with a 2.29 ERA in 28 appearances heading into play on Sunday.
"He's one of the best relievers in the game," Kelley said. "If he's on any other team without Mo, he's probably closing and probably leading the league in saves."
"He's, in my opinion, the best setup man in baseball. He'd probably be a closer most places," catcher Chris Stewart said. "His performance on the field proves that he should be there. ... He should be there, in my opinion."
Robertson likely hopes he gets those votes from his Yankees teammates. For him, it would be an honor to make his second career All-Star Game appearance, especially this year.
"To be able to sit alongside Mariano in that bullpen in his final All-Star Game appearance would be an awfully special moment in my career," Robertson said. "Yankees fans are the best, and I know that they will make every effort to send me to Queens."
Now in its 12th year, the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Saturday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and ends Thursday at 4 p.m. ET. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
There will be an extra treat for fans who participate in the Final Vote online. If you are not a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you are eligible to receive a 14-day free trial of MLB.TV from July 12-26. If you are a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will send an email on Friday to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.
Mobile voting in the U.S. and Canada is open to everyone. In the U.S., to receive the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for Robertson, simply text message A3 to 89269. In Canada, fans should text A3 to 101010. Standard message and data rates may apply. To vote for another player via text message, use the codes below.
A1 - Joaquin Benoit, Detroit
A2 - Steve Delabar, Toronto
A3 - David Robertson, New York Yankees
A4 - Tanner Scheppers, Texas
A5 - Koji Uehara, Boston
N1 - Ian Desmond, Washington
N2 - Freddie Freeman, Atlanta
N3 - Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles
N4 - Hunter Pence, San Francisco
N5 - Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles
For the second consecutive year, the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com (#FinalVote) will include a social balloting element, as Twitter support from the candidates' fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their Final Vote totals. From 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the overall vote total used to determine the American League and National League winners. Fans may follow @MLB on the popular social networking service for the latest standings updates in advance of the 4 p.m. ET balloting deadline.
The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2013 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.