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Published: Monday, 7/4/2011

4 Tigers, 2 Indians named All-Stars

Avila gets nod as starting AL catcher

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK -- Four Detroit Tigers and two Cleveland Indians will head July 12's All-Star Game.

Tigers catcher Alex Avila, first baseman Miguel Cabrera, starting pitcher Justin Verlander, and closer Jose Valverde will join Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and closer Chris Perez in Phoenix.

Avila got the nod in the fan voting, garnering 4,144,384, to represent the American League in the starting lineup -- his first selection.

Avila had trailed New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin by 435,000 votes heading into the final tally. Martin finished with 3,646,033 votes.

The 24-year-old backstop is hitting .299 with 10 homers, and 46 RBI.

Cabrera and Perez were chosen as reserves for the American League, the first selection for both.

Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Valverde were also added after the fan voting because of votes made by players in the league.

Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, and Roy Halladay led the usual slew of Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies picked for the game. Joining in this year, a Brew Crew.

Outfielder Ryan Braun, first baseman Prince Fielder and second baseman Rickie Weeks made up a Milwaukee trio elected by fans to start for the National League. Quite a haul, the largest ever for a small-market team better known for sausage races than pennant races.

"It means the Milwaukee Brewers have arrived on the national scene," Braun, the top NL vote-getter, said Sunday.

Toronto outfielder Jose Bautista, the reigning home run champion, drew a record 7.4 million votes. He became the first Blue Jays player elected to start since Carlos Delgado in 2003.

The AL starting lineup: Adrian Gonzalez at first base, Robinson Cano at second, Jeter at shortstop, Alex Rodriguez at third base, with Bautista, Josh Hamilton and Curtis Granderson in the outfield, Avila behind the plate and Ortiz at designated hitter.

The NL starters: Fielder at first, Weeks at second, Reyes at short, Placido Polanco at third, with Braun, Kemp and Lance Berkman in the outfielder and Brian McCann catching. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy will choose the DH.

Fans can vote on MLB.com through Thursday for the 34th player on each side. Injuries are sure to affect the final rosters, too -- three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols was left off while recovering from a broken left wrist and Reyes is nursing a hamstring problem.

Once again, the league that wins will get home-field advantage in the World Series. Led by McCann, the NL won last year for the first time since 1996.

Phillies aces Cole Hamels, Halladay, and Lee were part of the 13-man NL staff, showing why Philadelphia has the best record in the majors. The World Series champion San Francisco Giants put four pitchers on the squad: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Brian Wilson, and Ryan Vogelsong.

Jeter, a 12-time All-Star set to come off the disabled list Monday, will be among six New York Yankees heading to the desert. Also going are 14-time All-Star Rodriguez, Cano, Granderson, closer Mariano Rivera, and Martin.

The Yankees own the best record in the AL, although two of their stars were among the notable omissions: CC Sabathia, tied for the major league high in wins, and first baseman Mark Teixeira, among the leaders in homers and RBIs.

The rival Red Sox put four players on the team: Gonzalez, Ortiz, pitcher Josh Beckett, and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

Texas manager Ron Washington will guide the AL team. Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson made the club over Sabathia.

This year's squad includes 13 first-time All-Stars in the AL and 11 in the NL. Among them will be closer Joel Hanrahan, Pittsburgh's lone representative.

On the ballot for the extra AL player are outfielders Alex Gordon of Kansas City and Adam Jones of Baltimore, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, Detroit DH Victor Martinez, and Tampa Bay second baseman Ben Zobrist.

Candidates for the final NL spot are outfielders Andre Ethier of the Dodgers, Mike Morse of the Nationals, and Shane Victorino of the Phillies, first baseman Todd Helton of Colorado, and pitcher Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks.

Among two themes sure to draw attention at the All-Star game are the heat -- it was 118 degrees in Phoenix this week and even though the ballpark has a retractable roof, some of the festivities are outdoors -- and Arizona's immigration law.

The law requires immigrants to carry their registration documents and police who are enforcing other laws to question the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally. Last year, several All-Stars said they would boycott the game if picked.



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