Mets third baseman voted over Sandoval; pitcher a starting candidate
MILWAUKEE -- If anyone doubted David Wright's commitment to the Mets -- his favorite team as a child and his only professional employer -- Wright silenced them last winter by signing an eight-year, $138-million contract that effectively made him a lifetime Met.
The organization means so much to Wright that, with this year's All-Star Game taking place at Citi Field, he said he would gladly trade all six of his previous All-Star appearances for a chance to play in Flushing.
Turns out, he does not have to. Backed by an organization-wide marketing bonanza and another stellar first half at the plate, Wright earned the National League All-Star Game starting nod at third base over Pablo Sandoval, in voting totals announced Saturday. Winning by more than 1.9 million fan votes, Wright will team with pitcher Matt Harvey, who also made the squad and is a candidate to start the game.
"They've had tremendous first halves," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We're very, very happy and very lucky we have those two guys on our team."
For Wright, 30, the All-Star selection is the seventh of his career and his fifth start. Wright was a prime candidate to start the game last year in Kansas City, but fell victim to a late voting surge by Sandoval -- a snub that he admitted was still disappointing to him one year later.
Still, the chance to represent the Mets at Citi Field outweighs just about everything else for Wright, who has been selected to the second-most All-Star rosters in franchise history behind Tom Seaver (nine).
"I was drafted by this team, developed by this team, and a lot of players don't get the opportunity to participate in one All-Star Game," Wright said. "This year being at home, obviously it's special."
For Harvey, who did not make his big league debut until last August, this will mark his All-Star debut. Collins will also be at Citi Field as a member of Bruce Bochy's coaching staff, while head trainer Ray Ramirez and strength and conditioning coordinator Jim Malone will work for the NL team.
"It hasn't quite hit home yet," Harvey said. "It's definitely a huge honor, and I couldn't be more excited that it's in New York. I'm glad I'm playing there with David. It will definitely be a fun experience, and I couldn't be happier."
Voting for this year's game will continue on MLB.com from Saturday to Thursday, July 11, with fans casting ballots for the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com to determine the final player for each League's All-Star roster.
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. Visit MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
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.
Wright is enjoying another stellar season at the plate, appearing in 82 of the Mets' 83 games and batting .304 with 13 homers and 14 stolen bases. He leads NL third basemen in average, on-base percentage (.393), slugging (.519), hits (96), walks (43), doubles (19) and triples (five), and his skills have traditionally translated well to the Midsummer Classic -- he holds a .400 average and one home run in six career All-Star appearances.
"David's David," Collins said of Wright, who was named team captain shortly after signing his new contract. "I could have written it down [at the beginning of the year] and been pretty close to what he's doing. I'm not surprised at that."
Wright will also captain the State Farm Home Run Derby at Citi Field, choosing three other NL sluggers to compete alongside him. Though he has narrowed the field down to a handful of candidates, Wright said he still has not decided whom to invite.
As steady as Wright has been this season, perhaps no player in baseball has generated more early headlines than Harvey, the second-year sensation who holds a 7-2 record, 2.27 ERA and leads the NL with 141 strikeouts.
As a result, Harvey has earned the respect of his peers. His election to the All-Star team came by winning the NL's player ballot, receiving 287 votes compared to 231 for second-place finisher Clayton Kershaw.
"I thought Matt would pitch good," Collins said. "I didn't know he would pitch this good. From what I saw last year in the second half, you say, 'Wow, the sky's the limit here.' To come as fast as he's come to where he's at right now? Pretty impressive."
The most intriguing subplot for Harvey will be whether he has done enough to start the game. Though Harvey's statistics speak for themselves, so do Kershaw's. Then again, Harvey will have an opportunity to state his case in person next week in San Francisco, pitching in front of Bochy.
The Mets have already expressed a willingness to shift Harvey up in the rotation, allowing him to sidestep the rule that prevents Sunday, July 14 starters from pitching more than one inning in the All-Star Game.
"It's one thing I can't decide," Harvey said of starting the game. "I've got two more starts left, and I have to go out there obviously and put up zeros, and do everything I can to help the Mets."