Rangers pumped about All-Star selections

ARLINGTON, Texas — Having the best record in baseball and being well on their way to setting a club attendance record is paying dividends for the Texas Rangers.

Texas has seven All-Star locks and another possible All-Star in right-hander Yu Darvish.

That’s an impressive feat for a team that’s never had more than six All-Stars but this year has more than any other team in baseball.

“It speaks for itself,” said second baseman Ian Kinsler, who was a player selection and will be making his third All-Star appearance. “There’s nothing more I need to say. We’ve got seven All-Stars, possibly eight going to the All-Star Game. It pretty much says you’ve got a pretty good team. We probably could have had a couple of others.”

The seven All-Stars guaranteed All-Stars are all taking different paths to Kansas City for the July 10 game.

Outfielder Josh Hamilton is a starter for a fifth-consecutive year and going to the game after setting a record for votes received with 11,073,744. Third baseman Adrian Beltre was voted in as a starter for the first time in his career. Catcher Mike Napoli’s first-ever appearance will be as the starting catcher for the AL team.

Left-hander Matt Harrison was picked by manager Ron Washington as a reward for a breakout season that included a 5-0 June. Closer Joe Nathan was also picked by Washington but the five-time All-Star is making his first appearance since having Tommy John surgery.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus was also a pick of Washington and will be making his second All-Star trip as a 23-year-old.

“It’s crazy,” Hamilton said of his vote total. “It’s just a blessing. Think about that many people voting and it just means a lot when fans vote you in. To get that many votes is obviously pretty special. I’m excited to go. I’m excited to play so people can watch.”

Hamilton said he still has no plans to participate in the home run derby.

Harrison got a call from Washington Sunday morning. The hardest part for Harrison was having to wait to talk to his family and friends until after the team was announced publically.

“It was pretty surreal I guess,” said Harrison. “I can’t really explain it. It really hasn’t sunk in all the way yet. I guess it will in a week when I get out there on the field with the rest of those guys. I’m just honored to have this opportunity.”

Beltre has been a starter before but that was because of an injury. This year he beat out Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera for the starting spot.

“It’s special that the fans vote me it,” Beltre said. “Obviously it’s the first time and I’m humbled. Obviously it’s an honor to be there and to be named as a starter is new to me.”

While the Rangers are excited about the amount of Texas players who will be in the All-Star Game, they are still going there with a purpose.

The Rangers have been the road team in the World Series the last two seasons because of AL losses in the All-Star Game. While home-field advantage doesn’t guarantee a World Series win, the Rangers would like to be in control of as many factors as they can be.

They’ll certainly have the numbers in Kansas City.

“I think half of the team is going,” Beltre said. “For us especially it’s going to be different somehow we know that not having the home-court advantage last year was one of the reasons why maybe we didn’t win last year. We’re going to go in there with a different mindset.”

Washington wouldn’t mind seeing one of his players have a key role in an AL win either.

“I’m very pleased with the team I have,” he said. “I just keep my fingers crossed everybody stayed healthy until we get to the All-Star Game. Then we can go and make a difference.”