HOUSTON -- The Astros had two players, second baseman Jose Altuve and closer Will Harris, named to the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard Tuesday evening, and the club has a chance for a third as right fielder George Springer was named an Esurance Final Vote nominee.
• Cast your Esurance Final Vote for Springer
Unsurprisingly, Altuve garnered the most fan votes (3,013,214) of any American League second baseman and was named an All-Star Game starter for the second straight year. Altuve leads the Majors in batting average (.352) and hits (116) .
"It's always great to go out and play for your fans," Altuve said. "This is the time of year they, I don't want to say pay you back, but show you a little love. Houston fans are great."
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It will be Altuve's fourth All-Star appearance in the last five seasons after making the team in '12, '14, '15.
"Jose is one of the best examples of what we have going, so I hope he gets all the accolades he deserves," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "If he keeps playing at this rate, then we're seeing one of the blossoming superstars in this game. I'm proud of him as an Astro and what he represents for us and the impact he has."
Last season was the first time Altuve had a teammate go with him to the All-Star Game. Reigning Cy Young award-winner Dallas Keuchel was also selected in '15, but didn't get picked this year after struggling for most of the first half of the season.
Altuve was confident Tuesday afternoon he wouldn't be the only Astro picked.
"Last year was my first All-Star Game with somebody from my team," Altuve said Tuesday afternoon. "It was good, and I know we're gonna do it again this year. It's gonna be more than one player. It's gonna be fun. We're gonna go out there and play and try to get the World Series advantage.
"We live in a good moment right now. We're playing really [well]. This is a good team, and, like I said, there's more than one guy [in Houston] that deserves to be in the All-Star Game."
And Altuve was right: Harris also was selected as an All-Star for the first time in his career, replacing injured Kansas City closer Wade Davis. Harris has been dominant as Houston's closer this season, holding the lowest ERA (0.72) of any AL reliever and an 9-for-9 mark in save opportunities.
"[The team] really respects what Will has done for this team, for himself," Hinch said. "... If anyone's earned it, he has."
Harris made his Major League debut in 2006, but bounced around a couple teams before landing in Houston.
"I don't know if it's sunk in or not," Harris said, "but I just know I'm going to go to San Diego, enjoy myself, spend some time with my family and make some memories that can last the rest of my life. Just have a big smile on my face for a few days and try and soak it all in."
The Astros can have a third player in San Diego if Springer wins the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. He'll be going against Detroit's Ian Kinsler, Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria, Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Toronto's Michael Saunders.
"If I'm pitching in the All-Star Game," Harris said, "I want one right fielder, and that's George Springer, for sure."
It would be the first time the Astros would have three players selected to the All-Star team since '05, and the first time since the club joined the American League.
Fans can vote for the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote until 4 p.m. ET on Friday. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will be announced during a Final Vote-themed telecast of "MLB Now" featuring commentary from political analyst Jeff Greenfield, live on MLB Network and MLB.com from 4-5 p.m. ET. MLB Network will provide extensive coverage across all of its studio programming during the Final Vote, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating the cities where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.
Baseball fans have cast nearly 600 million online votes for Final Vote candidates since the program's inception in 2002. In addition to MLB.com and the official club websites, fans can use their mobile devices to cast votes at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Final Vote will include social balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their vote totals. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET on Friday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.
At 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 12, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.