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Longoria going to All-Star Game

10

July

By MARC TOPKIN

   CLEVELAND - Longiria_2 Rays rookie 3B Evan Longoria is going to the All-Star Game.

Longoria won the four-day on-line vote for the 32nd and final spot on the American League roster for Tuesday’s mid-summer classic at Yankee Stadium.

Longoria, 22, received more than 9 million of the record 47.8 million votes cast for both leagues, both record numbers.

"What can I say now - it's going to be the dream come true that I was hoping for,'' Longoria said, after receiving the news during pre-game warm-ups in a call from MLB official Phyllis Merhige. "I'm totally excited. I just want to say thanks to the fans, thanks to everybody who voted. That's got to be first and foremost; I couldn't have done it without everybody who voted.''

Longoria led from the start of voting and finished ahead of four more established players, including two from large markets, Jermaine Dye of the Chicago White Sox and Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees, plus the Royals’ Jose Guillen and the Orioles’ Brian Roberts. MLB did not release specific totals, but said Dye was second, Giambi third, Roberts fourth and Guillen fifth.

"It speaks a lot about the club and what we've done this year, and the changes that they've made and the guys that we've brought in,'' Longoria said. "We've done a good job coming together as a team, and it shows the nation's behind us.''

He tried to play it cool the last few days but admitted he was somewhat nervous on Thursday and did what he could to help his cause - voting about 20 times for himself.

"I had to,'' he said. "I can't lie; today I was pretty pumped up coming to see how it was going to finish out.''

He is the first rookie position player to win a "Final Vote" ballot in the seven years of the program; the only other rookie was Japanese pitcher Hideki Okajima, last year for Boston.

Having already won AL Player of the Week and AL Rookie of the Month awards,  Longoria leads the Rays with 16 home runs and 53 RBIs, and has a .281 average, in 80 games since being called up from the minor leagues on April 12.

"I think he's earned it,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He's made a nice strong push over the last month.''

Longoria will join two other Rays already chosen for the team, LHP Scott Kazmir and C Dioner Navarro.

"Obviously we're very pleased to have three representatives in the All-Star Game,  especially with the stretch we've had with only one (nine of their first 10 seasons),'' ' Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "To come in in his rookie season and get recognized in such a way is obviously a great honor and a well-deserved one.''

Longoria will be the third rookie third baseman to make an AL All-Star team, joining Kansas City's Kevin Seitzer (1987) and Minnesota's Rich Rollins (1962). And he is the first rookie third baseman in either league since Cincinnati's Chris Sabo in 1988.

(Photo by Getty Images. Click to enlarge.)

[Last modified: Monday, December 21, 2009 12:36am]

    

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