A.J. Pierzynski has been one of baseball's top catchers for the past 10-12 years, but he has been selected to only two All-Star Games and appeared in just one.
Pierzynski was a reserve for the American League in the 2002 All-Star Game while he was still with the Twins. He caught the last six innings in a game that ended 7-7 and was 0-for-3 at the plate. He was also on the AL team in 2006 while with the White Sox when he won the Final Vote, but he did not play in the game at Pittsburgh.
Last year he had strong enough numbers to be considered for the All-Star Game, but did not come on top in the voting. He also briefly expressed his displeasure with manager Ron Washington for not selecting him as a reserve.
Washington said he wanted to add Pierzynski but was limited by selection rules. Pierzynski didn't hold it against Washington, and the two joked about it over lunch this winter. That was right before Pierzynski signed with the Rangers as a free agent.
Now he is representing the Rangers as their catcher on the All-Star ballot that was released Wednesday. He is off to a good start at the plate, and he has done an excellent job handling the Rangers pitching staff.
It might be time for Pierzynski to get the recognition he deserves and be a member of the AL starting lineup for the first time in his career. The Rangers are looking to extend their five-year run of having at least two players in the AL starting lineup.
Maybe it will be Lance Berkman who extends that run by starting in the All-Star Game at his fourth different position. He started in center field in 2004, at first base in '08 and left field in '11. That was in the National League. Now he is in the AL, and he is on the All-Star ballot for the first time as a designated hitter.
Adrian Beltre is the only other Rangers player who has started an All-Star Game. He has been the AL starter at third base for each of the past two seasons. Ian Kinsler has been to three All-Star Games and Elvis Andrus has been to two, but neither has ever started a game. Nelson Cruz went to one All-Star Game in 2009 but did not get to play. First baseman Mitch Moreland and David Murphy are looking for their first All-Star selection.
Leonys Martin is on the All-Star ballot for the first time. He was selected over Craig Gentry as the Rangers third outfielder along with Cruz and Murphy.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via your mobile device -- using the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, July 4, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Fans may submit twenty-five (25) online ballots during the voting period, but can also earn a one-time bonus of ten (10) additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, visit www.mlb.com and register in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
Fans can also once again participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2013 Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 15.
The 2013 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 7, on the 2013 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com on MLB.com.
The voting doesn't end there. 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. 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.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.