PHILADELPHIA -- Domonic Brown has been the best story for the Phillies this season, and Saturday he got a nice reward for it.
He made his first National League All-Star team.
Left-hander Cliff Lee also earned his fourth trip to the Midsummer Classic with Saturday evening's announcement. They are the only two Phillies headed to Citi Field to compete against the American League on July 16.
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, who is 2-0 with a 1.87 ERA and 18 saves in 22 opportunities, did not earn a spot. Chase Utley has been one of the best second basemen in the league, but he missed a month because of an oblique injury and that hurt his chances.
Brown was a no-brainer. He's hitting .279 with 14 doubles, three triples, 22 home runs and 60 RBIs. He's tied for second in the league in home runs, is third in total bases (175), fifth in RBIs and slugging percentage (.549) and sixth in extra-base hits (39).
"It definitely felt great," Brown said of the his first All-Star selection. "I worked hard to get here. I always set my goals high. This definitely was one of them."
He finished 16th on the fan ballot, but fourth on the players' ballot.
"I try to work hard every day, make sure I'm running the bases right and making sure I'm doing what I need to be doing on and off the field," Brown said. "Hopefully, I can get that respect around the league."
Brown had been one of the top prospects in baseball in 2010, but had hit a combined .236 with a .703 OPS in parts of three seasons before finding his groove this year. He said he had not thought much about the All-Star team, so when Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Charlie Manuel called him into Manuel's office to tell him the news he initially thought he might be traded.
That is one thing Brown does not need to worry about. The Phillies are searching for young and talented position players. He isn't going anywhere.
"I think when he came up, he had to learn what Major League Baseball was all about, and how we go about things," Manuel said before the game. "And I think he's been around some good people, [hitting coaches] Steve Henderson and Wally Joyner, as far as his hitting goes, and I think he's communicated with some of those guys to learn what Major League Baseball is all about. Some of the guys on the team, [Ryan] Howard and some of those guys definitely helped him. He's come a long ways."
"Domonic deserves a lot of credit," Amaro said. "He wasn't ready to be in the big leagues as an everyday player over the last couple years. He was ready this year, took advantage and made it happen."
Lee is 10-2 with a 2.73 ERA in 18 starts. He is tied for third in the league in wins and tied for 10th in ERA.
"It's definitely an honor and something to be proud of," Lee said. "Hopefully I get a chance to help the National League win and get home-field advantage for the World Series. It's something you want to do every year."
Until Thursday at 4 p.m. ET, return to MLB.com and cast your 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com for the final player for each League's All-Star roster.
The voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will 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 July 16. Come to 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.
Brown said he will participate in the Home Run Derby, if afforded the opportunity. Amaro said he has no problem with that.
"Absolutely. Whatever he wants to do," he said. "I think it's great."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com.