Dodgers first baseman feels rookie should get All-Star honor
SAN FRANCISCO -- Whatever awkwardness was created by having two teammates among the five candidates for the National League All-Star Final Vote was resolved Sunday by Adrian Gonzalez, who said he was voting for teammate Yasiel Puig.
"For me, personally, I want Puig to go," said Gonzalez, a four-time All-Star. "I'm voting for Puig."
Both Dodgers were named finalists Saturday for the Final Vote, but it's Puig that fans are buzzing about, and that's fine with Gonzalez, even if Puig's Major League career is only five weeks old.
"That's what the fans want to see," said Gonzalez, who was wearing a Puig 66 shirt while being interviewed. "It's from the heart."
Gonzalez admits he would feel different if he had never been an All-Star.
"No, then I'd want to go," he said. "But that's why I want him to go."
Said manager Don Mattingly: "I'm voting for both."
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 1 p.m. PT. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
Puig was in second place in the NL voting, closely behind Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, in a balloting update released Monday.
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 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 Puig, simply text message N5 to 89269, and to vote for Gonzalez, text message N3. In Canada, fans should text N5 or N3 to 101010. Standard message and data rates may apply.
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 7 a.m.-1 p.m. PT 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 1 p.m. PT 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.
Gonzalez has been the most consistent run producer for a lineup that was supposed to be overloaded with them. He came to the Dodgers last summer in the blockbuster trade that also brought Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto from the Red Sox.
Although he half-jokingly calls himself "a singles hitter" after coming back from 2011 shoulder surgery, he came into Sunday's game with 13 homers, including one in each game of a three-game series in Colorado this week.
Gonzalez also is a three-time Gold Glove winner with one Silver Slugger Award.
Gonzalez said he appreciated having his first half recognized by being named a finalist, but also questioned having two players from the same team.
"I thought that was weird," he said. "It makes it tough on the team. How do they promote one and not the other? It's kind of uncomfortable. I just told the team to do it all for Puig and we're in good shape."
The 22-year-old Puig, who finally succeeded last year after several failed attempts to defect from Cuba, was signed to a staggering $42 million, seven-year contract last summer as the Dodgers returned to the international signing market with a vengeance.
Called up from Double-A on June 3, he set the Los Angeles rookie record for most hits in a calendar month (44), four shy of DiMaggio's MLB mark. He already has eight games with three or more hits. He homered in four of his first five games, was named NL Player of the Week and became the first player to win a Player of the Month award in his first month in the big leagues. He also became the fifth player to win Player and Rookie of the Month in the same month.
If Puig or Gonzalez wins the Final Vote, he would join Dodgers teammate Clayton Kershaw on this year's NL All-Star team. Kershaw was selected in balloting of players. The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field in New York on July 16.
Nomar Garciaparra in 2006 became the only Dodger to earn an All-Star berth through the Final Vote process. Matt Kemp was a runner-up in 2009.