CLEVELAND: No Indians player is within shouting distance of being voted into the All-Star Game by the fans, but last week players, managers and coaches cast ballots that will widen the list of viable candidates.
Manager Manny Acta named three players he thought were deserving of consideration -- Shin-Soo Choo, Mitch Talbot and Fausto Carmona -- while conceding that all of them are unlikely to be picked for the American League squad.
Despite the Tribe's poor record, at least one Cleveland player, by rule, must be represented in the July 13 game in Anaheim. Choo would appear to have the inside track, leading the team in home runs (13), RBI (43) and steals (12) while carrying a batting average of .289.
Talbot might have a slight edge on Carmona becuse of his consistency. He has an 8-6 record and 3.88 earned-run average, compared to Carmona's 7-6 record and 3.68 ERA. Carmona's advantage is his ability to dominate a lineup, something that might be important to Yankee skipper Joe Girardi, who will manage the AL.
The selection process has become more complex in recent seasons. A vote of the fans determines the eight position players who will start for each league. Players, managers and coaches vote for five starting pitchers, three relievers and eight backup position players for each squad, and the manager of each team picks nine players.
Finally, the managers in combination with the Commissioner's Office will choose five players from each league who will be placed on an internet ballot, with the two winners receiving the final berth on each roster.
In 2009, a 33rd player was added to each team; this year there will be 34. Also, any starting pitcher on the AL or NL squads who pitched on the Sunday preceding the All-Star Game will not be eligible to play in the contest but will be honored as an All-Star.