Longoria, Crawford voted All-Star starters; Price also named to team
3B Evan Longoria and LF Carl Crawford were elected starters for the AL All-Star team and LHP David Price was chosen by the players to join the squad for the July 13 game in Anaheim.
Longoria and Crawford were elected in the fan vote, the first time the Rays have had two starters elected in the same year. (Actually, they are in line to be the first Rays to start as the two previous elected starters, Jose Canseco in 1999 and Longoria last year, were sidelined by injury.)
"It's awesome,'' Crawford said this morning. "I'm really happy about that. I'm really at a loss for words, because that's something that always (seemed) so far fetched.''
The Rays could actually have three starters, if Price is picked by Yankees manager Joe Girardi to start. That decision hasn't been made yet.
"It'd be awesome,'' Price said. "Only two people get to start this game every year so it'd be a great honor to get that. But I'm grateful just to go.''
For Longoria, it'll be his third selection in three big league seasons, and he'll get the opportunity to play near his hometown in Southern California.
This will be Crawford's fourth All-Star appearance, but his first start. Crawford, the All-Star Game MVP last year, said it is extra special to be voted in by the fans (he was picked by players in 2004 and 2009, and by manager Jim Leyland in 2007). Crawford finished 223,827 votes ahead of Texas' Nelson Cruz for the third and final spot.
“It means a whole lot,'' Crawford said. "It means the fans are watching you, they vote for who they want to see. They want to see you play. I'm just glad that I could have the kind of game that the fans actually want to see.''
Making it more special, Crawford said, is looking back to the old Devil Rays days. "It seemed far away; I didn’t ever think I’d get to this point, but just kept at it,'' he said. "Here we are now. I'm glad I went through those early days to get to now. You don't take it for granted. You feel more proud.''
Price was the top choice of the five starting pitchers voted in by the players, with 290 votes. Boston's Clay Buchholz had 214, New York's Phil Hughes 206, Seattle's Cliff Lee 180 and Boston's Jon Lester 135.
Though Price's selection comes as no surprise, as he leads the AL in wins (11) and ERA (2.42), when he got the news Sunday morning from manager Joe Maddon, "I just said, "Thank you." Obviously it’s a good thing to hear, starting my day off right. I was very grateful. It's not just me, I'm representing the Rays. I couldn’t have done it without these guys.''
Interestingly, neither Crawford nor Longoria won the players vote. Crawford finished fourth among the outfielders with 278 votes, behind elected starters Josh Hamilton of Texas (588 votes) and Ichiro Suzuki of Seattle (417), and Toronto's Vernon Wells (344). Longoria was a close second to Boston's Adrian Beltre, 410-392.
Though three Rays will be going to the All-Star game, they could have certainly made a case for a fourth, as RHP closer Rafael Soriano has picked up 20 saves in 21 chances. RHP Jeff Niemann also had a strong first half, going 6-2 with a 2.80.
- JOE SMITH and MARC TOPKIN