ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria could be returning to the Midsummer Classic if the Esurance Final Vote goes his way.
• Cast your Esurance Final Vote for Longoria
News of Longoria's Final Vote status came at the end of Tuesday night's All-Star Game presented by MasterCard selection special. Longoria, who would join Rays closer Alex Colome in San Diego on July 12, has not been to an All-Star Game since 2010, when he started for the American League.
"I'm always excited to be considered in that group," Longoria said. "First and foremost, I'm very happy for Colome, [who was selected by Royals manager Ned Yost]. I think he's deserving of it. He's one of the only guys down there that's been consistent for us and been great. We've asked a lot of him. So I'm very happy for him.
"I'm honored to be on the final ballot. I was on it in 2008, and we came through and won it, so hopefully we can rally the troops and get some votes and get me there again."
The other candidates for the final vote are: Ian Kinsler, Detroit; Dustin Pedroia, Boston; Michael Saunders, Toronto; and George Springer, Houston.
Longoria has had an All-Star-like first half this season. He's on pace to exceed many of his offensive numbers and he's been among the AL leaders in a lot of those categories thus far.
Longoria "posts every day," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He goes out. You can't get him out of the lineup. You can hardly get him to agree to DH. And then this year, you've seen him healthier and you've seen the player that all of Major League Baseball knows the standard that he's set.
"The way he's carried himself, stats are one thing, what he's done this year for this club, given some rough times and the consistency of playing to that level. That's why I think we believe in this building that he's an All-Star."
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No doubt, the fact that third base is a deep position in the AL played against Longoria getting picked for the team. Also on the team are Baltimore's Manny Machado and Toronto's Josh Donaldson, and Texas' Adrian Beltre.
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.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.