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Rays: We deserve more than one All-Star

Dioner Navarro’s hitting and defense make him a likely choice for an All-Star spot.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Dioner Navarro’s hitting and defense make him a likely choice for an All-Star spot.

ST. PETERSBURG — Even the Rays aren't sure who from their best-in-baseball team should, much less will, be named today to the American League All-Star squad, with C Dioner Navarro seemingly the most likely.

But they are pretty sure that for the first time since 1999, and second time ever, there should be more than one.

"I just want to see more than one representative," LHP Scott Kazmir said. "There's got to be more than one. It's about time for it to change. We deserve to have more than one. We've got the best record of anybody."

Kazmir (7-3, 2.63 ERA) might be the next most likely Ray, but he is starting next Sunday in Cleveland, which limits his availability. Other possibilities: OFs B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford, rookie 3B Evan Longoria and relievers J.P. Howell and Dan Wheeler.

No Rays will be voted starters by the fans. If no Rays are among the 17 (nine players, eight pitchers) elected on the ballots of players, coaches and managers, they have to be selected by AL/Boston manager Terry Francona, who gets to name five (and has to make sure every team is represented, which limits his options).

"What I'd like to see is more than one guy make it," said Rays manager Joe Maddon, who spoke with Francona about it last week. "But it may not happen. It may be just one guy. And it speaks to the kind of first half we've had. We've had a tremendous team first half, and individually maybe not as glorified, but I much would prefer the way we've done this first half."

Navarro went into play Saturday leading all AL catchers with a 39 percent success rate throwing out runners and a .998 fielding percentage (making his first error Tuesday) and is second with a .318 average (with a minimum of 225 plate appearances).

He said he has thought about the possibility of being picked for the July 15 game but not too much.

"It would nice," Navarro said. "But it would be even nicer if we go all the way to the playoffs and the World Series and then take a cruise for about a month."

At best, Maddon said, two Rays could be picked. Others could be added later in online voting for the 32nd man or as an injury replacement.

REYES RECOVERING: Maddon said RHP Al Reyes "looked really good" in throwing 30 pitches in a simulated game Saturday. Reyes, on the disabled list with right shoulder tendonitis, isn't expected to return until after the All-Star break. Maddon said the club would wait to see how Reyes feels today before deciding the next step in his rehab assignment.

CROWD CONTROL: The Rays went over the 1-million mark in attendance Saturday, the earliest they've completed the feat since the inaugural 1998 season. With a crowd of 30,418 on Saturday, they have drawn 1,016,201 through 48 home dates, a 36.3 percent increase over the same period last year that is the largest in the majors. The Rays are 13-1 with home crowds of 30,000-plus.

MISCELLANY: Royals RF Jose Guillen, who unleashed a profanity-filled tirade against his teammates in May, got into a heated clubhouse exchange with pitching coach Bob McClure before the game, the Associated Press reported. No punches were thrown. "It's really not an issue," manager Trey Hillman said. Guillen started and went 0-for-4. … Royals OF David DeJesus' 16-game hitting streak, the longest in the majors, was halted Saturday. … The Rays' 35 home victories lead the majors. … Rays 2B Akinori Iwamura extended his hitting streak to nine games with his second-inning double. … The Rays' only winning streak longer than six games was a 12-game run June 9-22, 2004.

Rays: We deserve more than one All-Star 07/05/08 [Last modified: Sunday, July 6, 2008 3:25pm]

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