Hamels, Desmond part of AL All-Star roster

Rangers left-hander a candidate to start; outfielder selected in first year at new position

July 6th, 2016

Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels and outfielder Ian Desmond have been selected to the American League All-Star team for next Tuesday's Midsummer Classic (6:30 p.m. CT on FOX) at Petco Park in San Diego. Both were selected by the player vote.

"For he and Cole Hamels to represent us in the All-Star Game, great in my mind," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "The right two guys. If we're going to be limited to two, the right two guys. There's a few other guys in the locker room that I feel were deserving also. But if we had to have those two guys, it'd be great representation."

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This is the fourth time that Hamels has been selected and possibly the most special because the game is being held in his hometown. He was selected in 2007 and 2011-12 while with the Phillies. He and Chris Sale of the White Sox are the leading candidates to be the starter for the AL on a reliever-laden staff.

"Right now it's just an honor to be able to do it, representing this team," Hamels said. "They have allowed me and put me in this situation. To be able to have eight guys behind you at all times when you're pitching, having runs, made it a lot easier for me to go out and focus and take care of business."

This is the second time for Desmond, who was selected as a reserve in 2012 when he was a shortstop for the Nationals. He did not play in the game because of an injury.

Desmond was signed by the Rangers in Spring Training after he agreed to move to the outfield. He started the season in left field but has since taken over in center.

"It feels good," Desmond said. "You know … just a lot of hard work and you know it certainly wasn't done by myself. You have to give a lot of credit to [outfield coach Jayce Tingler], I showed up in Spring Training and he sought me out. He came up and said, 'We're going to work and we're going to work hard.' I said, 'I'm going to put everything I got into it,' and he said, 'I'm with you.' He held true to his word."

Desmond entered Tuesday's game against the Red Sox hitting .321, sixth best in the AL. He was sixth with 61 runs scored and fourth with 105 hits. He also had 15 home runs, 52 RBIs, 14 stolen bases, a .374 on-base percentage and a .526 slugging percentage in 83 games.

Desmond, after hitting a career-low .233 in 2015, was hitting just .153 in his first 16 games before taking off. He was the Rangers' Player of the Month for May and June.

"That's baseball," Desmond said. "That didn't really affect me. I had been through it before. I was drawing on the experience of the past, it would be OK. [Banister] standing behind me, rest of the coaching staff, the guys in here, they all believed in me. It certainly wasn't done by myself. Thank God for the perseverance and the endurance to grind through it."

Hamels pitched a scoreless inning in relief at the 2007 All-Star Game in San Francisco and 2012 in Kansas City. He did not pitch in 2011 in Arizona.

Hamels, whose next start is scheduled for Friday against the Twins, is 9-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 17 starts. He has the fourth-lowest ERA in the AL and is ninth with 105 strikeouts.

Hamels said he wasn't going to lobby to be the starting pitcher.

"No, that's not my job," Hamels said. "Going home, it's kind of hard to think about, but at the same time, just because it is in [San Diego] and having that opportunity, it will probably be a pretty memorable one, probably more so for the family and friends that can be there. For me it's an honor to be from San Diego and be able to pitch there."

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.

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.