Red Sox Blue Jays Throwback Jersey said to be progressing in Pedroia talks

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The Red Sox are making progress in their efforts to sign Dustin Pedroia to a contract extension, according to multiple reports on Friday.

Pedroia is in the fourth year of a six-year, $40.5 million deal that carries a team option of $11 million for the Red Sox. Pedroia has provided consistent production both offensively and defensively during the course of the contract.

The news of a possible extension was first reported by and Yahoo! Sports.

Pedroia, who went 1-for-4 in Boston’s 4-2 win over the Yankees on Friday, didn’t think it was his place to characterize the state of the negotiations.

“I just leave my agent and the Red Sox to deal with that,” Pedroia said. “My job is to come in here, play baseball and try to help the Red Sox win games. I don’t have anything for you right now.”

The Red Sox and Pedroia’s lead agents — Seth and Sam Levinsohn — declined comment.

However, Pedroia again reiterated how much it would mean to him to stay in a Boston uniform for many more years, if not his entire career.

“That’s great to think about,” Pedroia said. “[Staying in one place is] hard to happen. This is all I know. These guys are my family. Everybody. If it got to that point, it would be great.”

At 29, the second baseman still seems to be coming into his own, as he entered play against the Yankees on Friday with a .396 on-base percentage, the highest of his career.

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Speaking on WEEI on Thursday, Red Sox principal owner John Henry said the team is weary of giving out long-term deals, but would be more inclined to do so with players within the organization.

“You have to look at every situation, every player differently,” Henry said. “Dustin Pedroia, completely different player. Dustin would be different than going out into a free-agent market and signing someone.”

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Meanwhile, Pedroia will just keep trying to help the Red Sox stay in first place.

“I’m just focused on trying to help us win baseball games. That’s what I’m trying to do,” Pedroia said.

At a time when their bullpen depth is being tested, the Red Sox added two veteran right-handers via Minor League deals on Friday, both of whom had ties — either directly or indirectly — to the organization a decade ago.

Brandon Lyon spent part of the 2003 season as Boston’s closer. After that season, he was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the package that brought Curt Schilling to the Red Sox.

Jose Contreras was a highly sought-after free agent in the winter leading up to that ’03 season and the Red Sox battled mightily for his services, only to lose out to the Yankees. Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino was so frustrated at his team losing out on Contreras at the time that he referred to the Yankees as the “Evil Empire”.

Both pitchers, who are a long way from 2003, will report to Triple-A Pawtucket. The moves came on the same day the Red Sox learned they might be without reliever Andrew Bailey for the rest of the season.

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“Brandon pitched for [Red Sox manager] John [Farrell] last year in Toronto and signed with the Mets. Didn’t quite work out for him quite the way he wanted it to, so he became available,” said Sox general manager Ben Cherington. “Obviously he was here before. We felt it made sense to sign him and watch him pitch in Triple-A. He’s a guy who has a track record in the big leagues, a track record of getting good right-handed hitters out. He’s pitched here before. He’s pitched in big games.”

“In Contreras’ case, we watched him more recently,” Cherington said. “We knew he had an out coming up. We saw some good signs of how he was throwing the ball more recently in [Indianapolis], so we decided he was worth a shot. Both guys are going to be in Pawtucket for a while. We’ll see if an opportunity presents at some point. If it doesn’t at some point in August, then if we think there’s a better opportunity somewhere else, we’ll work with them on that. But they both have an opportunity to show us what they can do, and hopefully they come in and help us.”

Lyon pitched in 37 games for the Mets this season before being released earlier this month, going 2-2 with a 4.8 ERA. In 12 Major League seasons, Lyon is 42-47 with 79 saves and a 4.16 ERA.

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The 41-year-old Contreras has pitched mainly in relief this season and that’s how he would be used if he eventually emerges in Boston. He last pitched in the Major Leagues on May 27, ending a seven-game stint with the Pirates that included a 9.00 ERA.

After being looked at by the Red Sox’s medical staff, right-hander Clay Buchholz resumed playing catch on Friday after a brief shutdown period over the All-Star break.

There was no MRI given to Buchholz, and the club continues to hope that the discomfort he has been feeling in his neck and the upper portion of his back shoulder subside in the near future.

General manager Ben Cherington mentioned that Buchholz could get a second opinion.

Buchholz last pitched for the Red Sox on June 8. He had been on the best run of his career, going 9-0 in his 12 starts.

Blue Jays Throwback Jersey Buchholz to have shoulder re-examined Friday

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 As optimistic as the Red Sox were about the possible return of Clay Buchholz, suddenly the prognosis isn’t looking too promising.

Buchholz is still experiencing pain behind his right shoulder, was shut down completely over the All-Star break after throwing a 25-pitch bullpen session on Sunday and will be re-examined on Friday.

“It’s frustrating, but you got to let it ride its course,” Buchholz said Thursday. “That’s sort of where I’m at right now. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll start my throwing program again after a couple of days off over the All-Star break and everything, and hopefully it starts piecing itself together.”

With the non-waiver Trade Deadline of July 31 looming, Buchholz’s health could play a big role in the Red Sox’s actions, but manager John Farrell said Thursday that the team is still hoping Buchholz will get back on the mound in 2013.

“We have every intention and hope and outlook that he will resume pitching this season,” Farrell said. “I wish I could give you an exact date to be honest with you, and I know Clay would, too. There’s no one more frustrated in this than Clay — and that needs to be made clear. This is a guy who is a strong competitor. He recognizes the situation we’re in and he wants to be on the mound. That’s the bottom line, but at the same time, his body is telling him one thing.”

Buchholz’s body is telling him no, even after 1 1/2 months spent on the 15-day disabled list. Each little step forward has been met with an eventual step backward.

“We just felt like, as that was accumulating, he wasn’t getting over the hump,” Farrell said.

The Sox have given Buchholz anti-inflammatory medicine, since two MRIs have revealed no structural damage. At this point, he’ll have to simply wait for the pain to subside.

Getting Buchholz back on the mound is important, but getting him to a point where he can be fully productive is the priority.

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“We’ve got to treat those symptoms and gradually get him back to where the endurance can sustain that intensity,” Farrell said.

Buchholz, who had to sit out the All-Star Game, spoke Monday and said he’s simply waiting for his body to respond at this point.

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“This is all going on feel, how I feel, whenever I throw another bullpen [session], how it leads up to that,” Buchholz said. “The first day that I feel like, ‘OK, I’m pretty much normal now,’ that’s when I’m going to ramp up and do what I got to do.”

Matt Garza, who is making $10.25 million with the Cubs this season and will become a free agent at year’s end, has been strongly linked to the Red Sox and Rangers in trade rumors. Garza has experience pitching in the AL East during his time with the Rays and has looked strong since his return in late May, posting a 3.17 ERA over 71 innings. ESPN reports that the Cubs are expected to deal Garza soon and currently are listening to final offers.

Chris Carpenter’s rehab assignment will next take him to Memphis, where on Saturday, the 38-year-old will start for the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate.

The start will be Carpenter’s second since starting his rehab stint. On Monday, Carpenter threw 54 pitches (38 strikes) in a 2 2/3-inning start for Double-A Springfield. He allowed six hits, three runs (two earned) and struck out five.

Manager Mike Matheny said Carpenter should push himself to a pitch count of about 75-80 in the upcoming start.

“I heard his stuff looked real good,” Matheny said of Carpenter’s appearance earlier this week. “He and I talked also, and he was real happy with things. You look, velocity was there, and how he felt physically, I think those are really good tests in measuring how good the outing was for him.”

Carpenter can remain on a rehab assignment a maximum of 30 days, which would take him to Aug. 13. How he continues to progress and what the Cardinals’ needs are on the Major League roster will dictate how long Carpenter remains in the Minors. General manager John Mozeliak equated Carpenter’s rehab assignment to the build-up process that pitchers go through during Spring Training.

Wacha was named the Pacific Coast League’s Top Star in Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game. Though the PCL fell to the International League, 4-3, Wacha retired all five batters he faced in his relief appearance. He induced four groundouts and threw 13 of his 22 pitches for strikes. Memphis first baseman Brock Peterson, who finished as the runner-up in the Triple-A Home Run Derby, singled and drove in a run in the game.

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Mozeliak said the Cardinals have about 7-10 days before they have to get Carlos Martinez back into a starting rotation so he can stay stretched out. In the interim, Martinez will continue to occupy a spot in the Cardinals’ bullpen. Since the Cardinals won’t need a fifth starter until July 27, they have not officially settled on who that will be. If it’s not Martinez, the 21-year-old rookie will likely be sent down to Triple-A to start.

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On Wednesday, the Cardinals learned they will receive an extra pick in next summer’s First-Year Player Draft because of the results of the Competitive Balance Lottery. The 10 smallest-market teams, the 10 lowest-revenue teams and any team to receive revenue sharing this past year were placed into the lottery. Fourteen teams fell into one of those three groups. The odds of being picked were based on the reverse of last year’s winning percentage.

The Cardinals were selected third in the second round of the lottery, meaning they land an extra selection between the second and third rounds of the 2014 Draft. This June, that same pick fell 71st in the Draft and added $782,900 to that team’s pool of Draft money.

The Cardinals announced they will hold Jewish Community Night at Busch Stadium on Aug. 8. With the purchase of a theme night ticket, fans will receive a Jewish Community Night Cardinals shirt. Jewish-rock recording artist Rick Recht will perform during a pregame concert in the Ford Plaza. Recht will also join the Jewish Community Night choir to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” For more details or to purchase tickets, visit

Blue Jays Throwback Jersey Rivera’s tribute latest, and greatest, of its kind

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No player ever went out in All-Star style like Mariano Rivera.

The 84th All-Star Game will be remembered as the perfect swan song, and it also goes down as the best such exit ever. A day after the Yankees’ closer received an unforgettable ovation and a Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award, it was time to look through Major League Baseball history and find any comparable All-Star Game exits for outgoing greats.

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Parting ’tis indeed such sweet sorrow. We do not always know when a Joe DiMaggio is going to hang up his cleats or whether a Sandy Koufax will give in to his arm’s pain. Babe Ruth hung around too long for an All-Star tribute. It requires a recipe of retirement’s foregone conclusion and a beloved legend. While nothing could match “The Mo Game” for such emotional display, there have been some sweet goodbyes in an event that started in 1933.

In 1968, the venue itself was the star as Houston’s new Astrodome hosted the Midsummer Classic. But it also was a moment to celebrate Mickey Mantle. In what shaped up as Mantle’s last season, the two leagues began a tradition of naming team captains. Mantle (Yankees) was captain of the American League, and Willie Mays (Giants) of the National League.

In the top of the eighth inning, the Mick came up to bat and was given a standing ovation. Ironically, one outgoing New York legend would face an incoming New York legend. Tom Seaver promptly struck Mantle out in the 16th year that the latter graced the event.

Speaking of Mays, fast-forward to 1973. Mays had been the embodiment of the All-Star Game. Coming back from military service for the 1954 season, he was named an All-Star that year and each one after it through 1972, including the doubleheader years. In ’73, he was chosen one last time, finally with the Mets. In that game at Kansas City, Mays came up as a pinch-hitter in the seventh to bat for Willie Stargell, one of those stars who had taken over the NL stage.

The Royals fans gave Mays a prolonged standing ovation — showing the same kind of respect, in fact, that they would show for Miguel Cabrera just last year when he clinched the Triple Crown there. Mays struck out. He walked toward the dugout with a sad visage, but the crowd continued to stand and reinforce baseball’s appreciation of a great career.

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Rivera was not the first outgoing legend to win the MVP trophy in his last All-Star Game. Cal Ripken Jr. did it in 2001, and that night at Seattle, the most memorable gesture was at the start of the game rather than the end of it. Alex Rodriguez was the AL’s starting shortstop, and Ripken was starting at third, having converted from shortstop out of necessity during his career. As the two ran out to take their positions in the first inning, Rodriguez went to third and coaxed Ripken to play short, in deference and respect to the years Ripken had spent there.

At the start of the second inning, the two switched back to their assigned positions. But the point had been made, which was simply to focus attention on the outgoing great. Ripken made the most of that night, homering off Chan Ho Park to open the AL scoring.

“First get put on the pedestal he belonged on by another great player in A-Rod, when A-Rod made him go to shortstop,” MLB Network analyst Mitch Williams said. “Then Cal hits a home run in his final All-Star Game. How do you top that?”

Rivera just did. Yet there was another Yankee moment that merits a place here as well.

In 1939, Lou Gehrig was the AL’s honorary captain at Yankee Stadium, where the AL won, 3-1, in the seventh edition of the game. A rookie fireballer named Bob Feller escaped a bases-loaded jam and dominated, an example back then of the game’s unstoppable transition of power. It was July 11, and exactly one week earlier, the Iron Horse had given his famous “Luckiest Man” speech, having retired after only eight games played that season because of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He died June 2, 1941.

More often than not, future Hall of Famers who were All-Stars in their final seasons had no idea at the time that they were winding down their careers. In 1974, for example, Detroit’s Al Kaline was named an All-Star for a 15th season, his last, but it was not a time for choking back tears. He was charging hard at 3,000 hits, a milestone he would reach later that season.

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Stan Musial in 1963? It was his 24th and final All-Star outing, but this was not a man who was willingly going into baseball’s good night. It was not exactly a year of retirement tributes at each park Musial visited, the kind that Rivera is receiving now, or the kind Chipper Jones experienced just last year.

That kind of “farewell season” mindset can make an All-Star Game much more fun, as the Braves’ No. 10 enjoyed last year when he gave a pregame speech to NL teammates, when he was hailed by fans in pregame introductions, and when he hit an RBI single off Chris Sale in his final All-Star at-bat.

“It’s a really cool moment,” Jones Blue Jays Throwback Jersey said. “I’ve said all along through the first half there have been games and moments that couldn’t have been scripted any better. Today is one of those games that I will remember fondly when I look back on my last season.”

Barry Bonds is worth a mention here, at least for Giants fans. If you were among those at AT&T Park on July 10, 2007, you might have looked past the investigations of steroid abuse and been part of the standing ovation he received in his 14th and final Midsummer Classic. Bonds started in left field for the NL and was 0-for-2. He bowed out that season with 762 home runs.

While we are on the subject of All-Star swan songs, let’s not forget 1981. It was the opposite of a Mo Moment. This was a goodbye to a 50-day strike, and a night they welcomed back the game itself. An All-Star Game was played in Cleveland, and all was right with the world again.

Tom Brady Jersey In fitting close, All-Star MVP hardware for Mo

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As the last days of an illustrious career dwindle to the final few, Mariano Rivera can add this accolade to all the others: He joins Derek Jeter as the only Yankees elected Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game.

The closer extraordinaire was given the honor on Tuesday night after he pitched a flawless eighth inning as the American League defeated the National League, 3-0, ending a three-year run of losses.

That’s right, you heard it right. Rivera pitched the eighth, setting up for Joe Nathan, who worked the ninth and earned his first All-Star save. Rivera hasn’t been in that role since 1996, when John Wetteland was the closer, saved all four Yankees victories over the Braves and was named MVP of that World Series.

But there was a method on Tuesday night to AL manager Jim Leyland’s madness.

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“Jimmy, we talked about it during batting practice, and he told me he wanted to make sure that I pitched,” Rivera said. “He said that it depended on how the game goes and what happened. If we were winning by one or two runs, I would pitch in the eighth, because he wanted to make sure that he pitched me.

“That’s the reason I pitched the eighth inning and not the ninth inning. I mean, you don’t know what can happen in the game of baseball. Anything can happen, and it happens quick when there are great players out there. The decision was OK. And we won. That was the most important thing.”

Leyland concurred.

“I think you all understand that if something freaky would have happened and they scored some runs to take the lead, there possibly wouldn’t have been a bottom of the ninth, so that’s why I did it,” he said.

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Rivera was obviously moved by the tribute and the fuss about him all evening, even donating his game cap to the Hall of Fame.

It happened at Citi Field, where he threw out the first pitch prior to a Yankees-Mets game on May 28 and then came on in the ninth to blow a 1-0 lead and the save. But on Tuesday, he ran in from the bullpen to the strains of the usual “Enter Sandman,” his walk-on music, which is a trademark in the Bronx, not Queens.

Rivera arrived on the mound to find himself warming up alone with Royals catcher Salvador Perez. Out of respect, the rest of the AL team remained in the dugout until he was just about finished, allowing him to bask in the glow of a two-minute standing ovation.

“I mean, everything was a surprise this night,” Rivera said. “No, I wasn’t expecting that. I wanted to come in and do my job, and when I was crossing the field, I got to the mound, and then I heard that song — my song — in another stadium, that was great. And when I got to the mound, I saw both sides, both teams in the dugout. It almost made me cry, too. I was close. It was amazing — a scene that I will never forget.”

It’s no coincidence that the last time the AL won the All-Star Game, Rivera earned the save. It was his fourth, extending his All-Star Game record. That goes along with his record 638 regular-season saves and record 42 more in the playoffs. All he did Tuesday was his usual job — albeit an inning early — and he did that by getting Jean Segura to ground out to second, pinch-hitter Allen Craig to line out to left and Carlos Gomez to ground to short. He threw 16 pitches, 11 for strikes and turned another page in his epic history.

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In nine All-Star appearances, Rivera allowed only five hits and no earned runs for an impeccable 0.00 ERA. He walked none and struck out five for a minuscule 0.56 WHIP. NL opponents finished batting .185 against him.

“What a class act,” said Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who was on the AL team but didn’t get into the game. “Listening to him talk, it’s something I’ll never forget.”

“It was extremely humbling just to meet him,” Giants closer Sergio Romo said. “For me to shake his hand and let him know how much I respect him and then for him to come back and say, ‘Thank you, Romo.’ Wait. You know my name? Wow, what a feeling just to know that I’m visible to a person like that — someone I feel is a hero in the game, a guy who I personally look up to. Why not try to be like the best example, which is Mariano Rivera? I saw it live. Very special.”

“I thought it was wonderful by the fans, but I expected it to be — this is New York, obviously, it’s a different place,” Leyland said. “I can’t imagine how [former and current Yankees managers] Joe Torre and Joe Girardi feel bringing him in the ninth. That’s a pretty good feeling. Tonight was the eighth inning, so if anybody ever messed up Mariano Rivera, I can lay claim to that.”

Jeter, of course, wasn’t there. Save for one game this past Thursday, he missed the first half of the season in the aftermath of a broken ankle and now is nursing a strained quad.

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Jeter and Rivera have played together regularly every year since 1996, although Rivera missed most of the 2012 season after suffering a knee injury. They have won five World Series championships and seven AL pennants together, a record unparalleled in this era of the three-tier playoff system.

Major League Baseball began giving out the All-Star Game MVP in 1962 and before Tuesday, the only Yankees player to win it was Jeter in 2000. Rivera now joins him. In any era, they are among the best of the Yankees greats.

“I can’t describe it,” Rivera Tom Brady Jersey said, trying to sum up the evening. “I have no words for it. It’s been a wonderful night, the whole event. I have to thank every one of you guys for making this possible. Thank God for everything — my wife, my kids — thank you for all the support. It has been amazing. I have no words to describe this night.”

Harvey Tom Brady Jersey, Scherzer to start ASG; lineups revealed

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One starter will take the hill after enjoying a near-flawless first half of the season. The other will toe the rubber at his home ballpark following a stellar start to his first full year in the Major Leagues.

Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer was named the starting pitcher for the American League for Tuesday’s All-Star Game at Citi Field. Mets righty Matt Harvey received the nod for the National League squad. Managers Jim Leyland of the AL and Bruce Bochy of the NL revealed their choices on Monday.

Scherzer and Harvey rank second and third in the Majors in strikeouts, with 152 and 147, respectively.

Scherzer, 13-1 with a 3.19 ERA, took his first loss of the season on Saturday, when he allowed four runs in six innings against the Rangers, who recorded a 7-1 win in Detroit. The outing snapped a string of 10 consecutive quality starts.、

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“13-1,” Leyland said at a news conference at Citi Field. “I don’t think I need to explain more than that.”

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The 28-year-old was the first pitcher to begin a season 13-0 since Roger Clemens in 1986.

“It means so much, especially for it being my first All-Star Game,” Scherzer said. “This is what you dream for.”

Harvey, 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA, has submitted a quality start in 15 of his 19 outings. The 24-year-old didn’t drop a decision until June 13, when the Cardinals beat the Mets, 2-1 in New York. He opened the regular season with wins in each of his first four outings, during which he yielded a total of three runs on 10 hits.

“It’s a huge honor,” Harvey said. “I appreciate it. It’s obviously here in New York. The fans have been great here all year. Hopefully I can make them proud.”

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Harvey will be the first pitcher to start a Midsummer Classic at his home ballpark since a 41-year-old Clemens did so while with the Astros at Minute Maid Park in 2004.

Harvey will also be the third pitcher to make his first All-Star Game start at his home ballpark. The others were Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants in 1934 and Esteban Loaiza of the White Sox in 2003.

“What a tremendous year he’s had,” Bochy said. “It really wouldn’t have mattered what city we’re playing in, with the year he’s had.”

Leyland and Bochy also announced the starting lineups. The NL lineup features Mets third baseman David Wright in the cleanup spot.

Allen opened the conversation by noting that Barnicle has said Selig could have been a great Senate Majority Leader since he had shown the ability to deal with headstrong owners and a strong Players Association while still being able to reshape the game during his 22-year tenure.

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“I decided long ago that while patience would be required, that it would be best to include people in the process,” Selig said. “They may agree, they may disagree. But what I wanted to do is build a consensus. I knew back in the ’90s how tough things were. We had had eight labor stoppages in my career. It was brutal.

“We had all these internal divisions. The economics of the sport needed reformation. There’s no question about it. I knew then that to move forward, I couldn’t do it unilaterally. You just can’t. So if you want to get something done, if you want to get meaningful things done, you need to be political. You need to work on things. That’s a fact of life. When you need votes, you have to work on getting them. And we’ve made more changes than, 22 years ago, you could even think about. Consensus works. But it does require patience and you take some hits.”

At the end of the program, he returned to that theme when asked which U.S. Presidents he believed had provided lessons in leadership. He quickly mentioned Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book about Abraham Lincoln, “Team of Rivals.”

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“Lincoln believed in consensus,” Selig Tom Brady Jersey said. “He brought all these divergent people together. A lot of them hate each other. But that’s the way he formed a consensus. And he worked at it. Look, leadership requires vision. It requires courage. And it requires people to do the right thing even if they themselves get hit hard. When you’re in a role of leadership, that’s what you have to do,” he explained.

On Letterman, the Commissioner pointed out that baseball conducted 4,200 tests on Major League players last year with only seven positive results.

“They’re going to start testing talk-show hosts,” Letterman joked.

“And I’ll be happy to participate in that,” Selig responded, smiling.

Excitement builds as All-Stars align in New York Tom Brady Jersey

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For weeks, All-Star managers Jim Leyland and Bruce Bochy stressed over their rosters, trying to find the right mix. Chevrolet Home Run Derby captains Robinson Cano and David Wright made their selections, preparing for a night of free-swinging bluster. The game’s elite players wrapped up their stellar first halves, finalizing arrangements to fly to Queens.

With those players now arriving from points around the country, more than a year’s worth of planning has culminated in this: the 84th All-Star Game at Citi Field.

“I’m thrilled with the situation now,” Leyland said, “because now’s the enjoyable part.”

The 2013 All-Star Game will take place at Citi Field on Tuesday. Visit for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 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

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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 via the 2013 All-Star Game MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

This year’s game takes place at Citi Field in Queens, a borough that has not seen an All-Star Game in nearly a half-century. Though New York City boasts a rich All-Star tradition, most recently hosting at the old Yankee Stadium in 2008, the Mets held their only Midsummer Classic during Shea Stadium’s inaugural 1964 season.

“It makes for pretty good excitement,” said Wright, a seven-time All-Star who, along with pitcher Matt Harvey, will play in his home park.

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The last time New York hosted the Midsummer Classic, Josh Hamilton put on a show in the Home Run Derby in the Bronx. The American League outlasted the National League in 15 innings the following night, creating one of the most memorable All-Star weeks in recent history.

That was five years ago and the game has changed significantly since then, thanks in large part to a remarkable infusion of young stars. Among those making their All-Star debuts at Citi Field will be Orioles slugger Manny Machado, Giants and D-backs lefties Madison Bumgarner and Patrick Corbin, Rays pitcher Matt Moore, Harvey and others — all aged 24 or younger. It’s a list that does not even include phenoms Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, both of whom will be making their second All-Star appearances.

“It feels good,” Trout said. “I’m just happy to be a part of something special. Making the All-Star Game, it feels great.”

“I mean it’s crazy,” Machado said of earning a ticket at such a young age. “It’s crazy what I’ve been through my first year in Major League Baseball.”

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That’s not to say the game is all about youth. Wright, who turned 30 last winter, will headline an NL starting lineup that includes 36-year-old Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran, 32-year-old Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips and 31-year-old Cards catcher Yadier Molina. Combined, those four players boast 23 All-Star appearances.

The AL will counter with a mix of young stars and established veterans, including Twins catcher Joe Mauer, Yankees second baseman Cano and Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz.

The field also includes Orioles breakout star Chris Davis, who is on pace to flirt with 60 home runs, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who will make his third All-Star appearance at age 25, Final Vote winners Steve Delabar of the Blue Jays and Freddie Freeman of the Braves, and so many others.

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“Somebody asked me, ‘If I told you you would be up for consideration three years ago …’ I would have laughed at them,” Delabar Tom Brady Jersey said. “You just go day by day, and [you] just work hard for the future and hope that all things play out. You never expect something like this to happen.”

Now he and others will descend upon Citi Field, which is uniquely suited for the event. In building their new stadium, the Mets drew upon the best elements of parks throughout baseball, from the bridge motif of PNC Park in Pittsburgh, to the right-field overhang of Comerica Park in Detroit, to the vast outfield gaps of Coors Field.

The ballpark also draws heavily from old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn — particularly with its Jackie Robinson Rotunda — and incorporates elements from Shea, such as the Home Run Apple in center field and the fluorescent skyline mounted above Shake Shack.

Consider it an All-Star setting for the Midsummer Classic, which should be a spectacle of New York-sized proportions.

“A lot of players don’t get the opportunity to participate in one All-Star Game,” Wright said. “This year being at home, obviously it’s special.”

Lincecum Tom Brady Jersey regains form — and so much more

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You could see his confidence grow inning by inning. Remember that Tim Lincecum? His slider was wicked, his control precise. Surely, he sensed he was in command as opposing hitters lunged at pitches and walked back to the dugout shaking their heads.

Through the years, that’s one of the things that made Lincecum different. Opposing hitters always had a game plan. Opposing hitters always thought maybe they’d catch him on a bad day.

When he was at his best, they had no chance. They didn’t pretend otherwise. Sometimes in the other clubhouse, they talked about squandering chances or not taking advantage of opportunities, and they cursed themselves for letting one slip away.

With Lincecum in those early years, there was very little of that. In his first four full seasons with the Giants, he averaged 220 innings and 244 strikeouts per year. He compiled a 2.81 ERA in those four years.

Perhaps the highest compliment came from the old-timers. No, he was not Juan Marichal or Bob Gibson or Don Drysdale. He simply was Timmy, who won with decent velocity, with dazzling movement and location and with guile and guts.

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And then it went away. In the last two seasons, he’s 14-24 with a 4.97 ERA. His velocity declined. His control went away. There were days he seemed like the most hittable guy on Earth.

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He has still shown occasional flashes of greatness, but he simply was unable to sustain anything. This being a contract year and all, there was already intense speculation about whether the Giants would want him back or if another team would believe he still had something left in the tank.

He’s still just 29 years old. After 206 starts. After all the ups and downs. And he never stopped working on a solution, never stopped doubting, publicly at least, that he’d eventually figure things out again.

He was terrific in his previous start, this one against the Mets, when he walked one and struck out 11. Was he teasing the Giants again? Or had Tim Lincecum again gotten back on track.

Because he was still so young, because his mechanics were nearly flawless and because he wasn’t injured, there was always the possibility that he simply was having a long tough stretch and that eventually things would fall back into place.

Whether Saturday night was that turning point remains to be seen. All we know for sure is that Lincecum has never been better. In throwing his first career no-hitter, a monumental 148-pitch effort, he looked a lot like the guy he once was and the guy the Giants hope he can be again.

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He got his fastball up in the 91 mph range, but he showed the Padres a little bit of everything, a changeup here, a curveball there. His fastball doesn’t have the blazing velocity it once had, but it was plenty good enough on Saturday as the Giants won, 9-0.

It was a huge game for Lincecum, a game in which at least for one night he could re-establish himself, gain some confidence, perhaps springboard into a nice second half.

The Giants need something like that as well. Their only chance of getitng back into contention probably is huge second halves by Matt Cain and Lincecum. The thing about the Giants is that they’ve been counted out before, even in their championship seasons of 2010 and 2012.

And then the general manager, Brian Sabean, makes a deal that flies way under the radar and the manager, Bruce Bochy, makes it all work. So don’t count them out just yet.

On Saturday night, the game had a different feel even in the early innings. It was not just that Lincecum struck out six straight Padres between the second and fourth innings. It was how he did it.

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He got Will Venable on a slider and Rene Rivera on a fastball to end the second. He’d set Rivera up with a nice curveball, then came right back at him with a fastball. No chance.

In the third inning, he got one strikeout on a slider, another on a curve and yet another on a changeup. If he didn’t sense that this might be a special evening by then, the Padres might have.

At that point, they simply couldn’t anticipate a pitch or a location. Lincecum was that good.

Discounted Tom Brady Merchandise.

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The 13 strikeouts helped run up his pitch count. He also walked four. Still, he sailed into the ninth with the no-hitter, and it seemed routine from there.

He struck out Chase Headley on a 90 mph fastball to open the inning, then got Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso on routine fly balls to end it. Almost before the final out had settled into Giants left fielder Gregor Blanco’s glove, catcher Buster Posey had raced to the mound to embrace his pitcher.

It surely was a moment of release for Lincecum and all these tortuous two years have taught him. But it probably was equally satisfying for all the Giants, who’ve had a terrible first half.

On this night, Lincecum showed them a way out. Along the way, he mapped out a pretty good course for himself as well.

Tom Brady Jersey Gomes enjoying return trip to Bay Area

Even for a journeyman like Jonny Gomes, returning to a past haunt like Oakland distinguishes itself from other road trips.

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“I’m not far removed,” said Gomes, who was a member of the A’s 2012 postseason run. “This is my fifth team, but it’s a team I grew up cheering for as a kid, so it sort of separates itself.”

The Bay Area native batted .262 with 18 home runs and 47s RBIs with Oakland last year before signing a two-year, $10 million deal with Boston. The outfielder said he still keeps in touch with the majority of the team and sends texts, both of congratulations and in a ragging manner.

There hasn’t been too much opportunity for the latter, as the A’s sit in first place in the American League West in Gomes’ absence. Of course, the Red Sox aren’t doing too bad themselves with the best record in the AL.

“You can take any division in baseball,” Gomes said. “As long as you’re in first place, it’s going to be a good clubhouse.”

As far as differences between the two organizations go, Gomes said the thing that varies most is the average age of his teammates.

“This clubhouse is full of veterans,” Gomes said. “Not that it makes it better, but there doesn’t have to be as many things taught or policed in this clubhouse. As far as staying loose and having fun, I think that just comes with being in first place.”

The Minor League rehab outing Clay Buchholz was expected to make Sunday will now be a bullpen session.

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Boston’s two-time All-Star was initially scheduled to make the first of two Minor League rehab starts Sunday, but instead he’ll stay with the big league club for a bit longer before he makes at least one rehab start in the Minors.

“It’s a little different than what we had kind of outlined initially,” manager John Farrell said. “The most important thing is there’s no issues shoulder-wise, any kind of discomfort. He’s basically in that reconditioning phase getting back into shape.”

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Buchholz, who is dealing with inflammation in the bursa sac of his right shoulder, will still make the trip to New York for the Midsummer Classic, throwing long toss in the bullpen Tuesday instead of participating in the main event.

“What we’ve come to an agreement on is we can get the up-downs that would replace, say, a three-inning start at some point,” Farrell said. “And we can simulate that. Once he goes out, he’s basically accomplished that first step.”

Farrell added that he anticipates Buchholz, who is 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA but hasn’t pitched since June 9, to return before the end of July, though whether that’s an actual possibility is up in there with the date of his Minor League outing still not determined.

The Red Sox nearly lost Brandon Workman to the A’s during negotiations for Rich Harden in 2011. Now they’re relying on the 24-year-old to make his first Major League start in Sunday’s series finale in Oakland.

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Workman, who is ranked Boston’s No. 3 prospect by, allowed three runs in two innings of relief on Wednesday during his Major League debut. The former second-round pick surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced and followed that with consecutive doubles to the next two batters he faced in his first inning but came back to retire the side in his second frame of work.

Manager John Farrell said the two innings came on Workman’s normal fifth day and his 47 pitches thrown “puts him in line to be fresh and ready for Sunday.”

The right-hander was the 2012 Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going 10-8 with a 3.50 ERA with stints in Class A Salem and Double-A Portland and went 5-1 with a 3.43 ERA and 74 strike outs in 65 1/3 innings for Portland this season.

Workman went 3-1 with a 2.80 ERA in six starts this season with Triple-A Pawtucket before his promotion on June 5.

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It took until the last possible day to sign Draft picks, but the Red Sox locked up fourth-round selection Myles Smith, the lone holdout of Boston’s top 10 picks, on Friday.

The Red Sox also signed shortstop Mauricio Dubon (26th round), outfielder Nick Longhi (30th round), third baseman Rafael Oliveras (35thround), and right-handers Pat Goetze (36th round) and K.J. Trader (39th round).

In total, the Sox signed 27 of 40 players, including each of their first 12 picks and 18 of their top 19 selections.

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Smith was the 113th overall player selected in June’s First-Year Player Draft after the Mets took him in the 16th round the previous year.

Discounted Tom Brady Merchandise.

The right-hander transferred to Miami Dade College in 2012 and moved on to Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., an NAIA power, last season. With a fastball that can touch 97 mph and a solid changeup, Smith dominated at Lee, but to make it to the big leagues, he will need to improve his command.

“His arm has grown, meaning how much velocity he’s gained in it so quickly that I almost think his command and his body hasn’t caught up to it yet,” Mark Brew, Lee’s head baseball coach, said in June.

Smith is listed at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds and his slight frame and erratic breaking ball may push him back to the bullpen as a professional. Brew thinks Smith has the ability to start professionally, but he will need to adjust to the higher level of competition.

“On our level, he just overwhelmed people with his ability, and you know at that level that’s not going to be the case,” said Brew. “He’s going to need that command and that ability to locate his fastball.”

Midsummer Tom Brady Jersey legends fill up All-Star dream teams

Leading off for the National League, No. 42, the second baseman from the Brooklyn Dodgers: Jackie Robinson!

… And the leadoff man for the American League, No. 2, the shortstop of the New York Yankees: Derek Jeter!

Hey, we can dream, can’t we? And here on Planet Baseball, we’re letting our imaginations run free with all-time All-Star teams from both leagues, comprised of those luminous players who soared as the brightest of stars in the Midsummer Classic. This, keep in mind, is based entirely on performance in the All-Star Game, not regular-season exploits.

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It’s no easy task, and there are certain to be rumblings of discontent from all corners of the map. But after studying the numbers, digging into the memory bank and reading accounts of the most memorable performances in All-Star Game history, here are the lineups produced by a correspondent with a career inside the sport spanning five decades.

Starting pitcher: Lefty Gomez, New York Yankees
Closer: Mariano Rivera, Yankees

Let the barking begin.

Clearly, some of the game’s greatest names are limited to reserve roles — starting with Babe Ruth. “The Bambino” is omitted simply because he was ahead of his All-Star time. Ruth, his legendary career winding down, appeared in only the first two showcases, claiming the distinction of stroking the first All-Star Game home run in 1933 at Chicago’s Comiskey Park.

Lou Gehrig, the understated half of the game’s greatest tandem, played in six All-Star Games and homered twice but hit just .222. Sentiment aside, Killebrew, a .306 hitter with three homers and six RBIs in 11 All-Star games, gets the AL call at first.

Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson were well ahead of their time, along with Satchel Paige, Oscar Charleston and Josh Gibson. They likely would appear on any all-time dream team, but this is the All-Star Game’s fantasy show.

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A number of names more celebrated than some appearing in the lineups are excluded. Their All-Star performances did not match those of the chosen ones. Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Henry Aaron, Frank Robinson, Pete Rose, Reggie Jackson and Barry Bonds head this class.

Jackson was the closest of this elite group to cracking the lineup in right field or as the AL DH, but Mr. October — unlike, say, Lynn, Carter and Garvey — wasn’t Mr. July.

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Jackson hit the most eye-popping blast in the game’s history, off the transformer in Detroit in 1971, and was a .269 hitter with three RBIs in 12 games. DiMaggio (.225), Mantle (.233), Berra (.195), Campanella (.100), Aaron (.194), Robinson (.250), Rose (.212) and Bonds (.194) all struggled to find base hits in the Midsummer Classic.

The most productive superstar hitters in the game’s history are Mays (.307, 20 runs scored, three homers, nine RBIs), Musial (.317, 11 runs, six homers, 10 RBIs), Williams (.304, 10 runs, four homers, 12 RBIs), Jeter (.440, five runs, one homer, three RBIs) and Griffey Jr. (.440, four runs, one homer, seven RBIs).

Robinson, the social pioneer, made the most of his six appearances, hitting .333 with seven runs scored, one homer and four RBIs.

Lynn hit the only All-Star grand slam in 1983, one of four his homers along with 10 RBIs in 20 at-bats in the big show. Griffey is the AL center fielder, nudging Lynn, a great defender like Junior, to DH.

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Carter also is moved to DH by an icon. Carter, with three homers in 20 at-bats, was a two-time All-Star Game MVP Award winner, joining Mays, Garvey and Ripken. But Bench’s defensive greatness and his .357 batting average in 12 All-Star appearances give him the nod behind the plate.

A shortstop with few peers, Ripken is awarded third base with acknowledgement of the brilliance of fellow Orioles legend and 18-time All-Star Brooks Robinson. Jeter owns shortstop. Alex Rodriguez has been solid, hitting .269 in 11 All-Star appearances, but not in Jeter’s class in the Midsummer Classic.

Ripken was voted to his 18th and final All-Star Game as a third baseman in 2001. A-Rod graciously motioned Cal over to shortstop in one of the game’s great moments. Ripken responded with a home run at age 40, winning his second All-Star MVP Award in a 4-1 AL victory in Seattle.

The starting pitchers go back to the game’s origins. Hubbell, master of the screwball, delivered the most remarkable individual performance in the history of the game when he struck out Ruth, Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin in succession to open the 1934 contest in his home park, New York’s Polo Grounds.

Gomez, the Yankees’ ace, started that game and won a record three Midsummer Classics while working 18 innings. Only Don Drysdale (19 1/3, four runs allowed) pitched more All-Star Game innings. Drysdale or Juan Marichal (two runs allowed in 18 innings) would be the choice to start if not for Hubbell’s matchless outing.

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Rounding out the NL pitching staff behind Hubbell and Sutter are Drysdale, Marichal, Johnny Vander Meer, Ewell Blackwell, Larry Jansen, Dizzy Dean, Sandy Koufax, Fernando Valenzuela, Dwight Gooden and Greg Maddux.

Tom Seaver? Not so Terrific, getting touched for eight runs in 13 innings. Nolan Ryan split his time between the leagues and was charged with five runs in 10 innings. Robin Roberts surrendered 10 runs in 14 innings.

Joing Gomez and Rivera on the AL staff are Mel Harder, Bob Feller, Hal Newhouser, Jim Bunning, Early Wynn, Sam McDowell, Bret Saberhagen, Jack Morris, Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson.

Whitey Ford, largely because of Mays’ magnificence, was rocked for 13 runs in 12 All-Star innings. Jim Palmer yielded eight runs in 12 2/3, Roger Clemens nine runs in 13 rounds and Catfish Hunter nine runs in 12 2/3 innings.

The NL bench, managed by nine-time All-Star leader Walter Alston, features Mike Piazza, Willie McCovey, Billy Herman, Arky Vaughan, Chipper Jones, Ralph Kiner, Richie Ashburn, Aaron and Andruw Jones.

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The AL reserves, at the disposal of 10-time All-Star skipper Casey Stengel, include Sandy Alomar, Gehrig, Michael Young, Al Rosen, Al Simmons, Carl Yastrzemski, Ichiro Suzuki and Rocky Colavito.

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Yes, it’s hard to leave off Bo Jackson. But Bo knows he appeared in only one highly memorable All-Star Game, crushing a monstrous Reggie-esque home run leading off the 1989 show.

It was followed by a matching shot by Wade Boggs, another superb All-Star performer narrowly missing the cut. Rosen gets the backup role at third for his two-homer, five-RBI eruption in 1954 in Cleveland.

We can’t get away without mentioning Tim McCarver, who has delivered insights and honest analysis over the airwaves for three decades.

One of the game’s best and brightest catchers in his time, McCarver is in an exclusive club hitting 1.000 with at least three All-Star Game at-bats. The others: Willie Davis, Jimmy Rollins and Vince DiMaggio (Joe’s brother), who fell a double shy of a cycle while representing the Pirates in 1943.

And here, alongside Vin Scully, the game’s play-by-play voice, is telecast partner Mel Allen’s reaction to the performance of McCarver, the third man in the booth: “How about that?”

Final Vote alliance paying off for Tigers’ Benoit Mike Trout Jersey

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 Mike Trout Jersey Joaquin Benoit’s job in the Tigers’ bullpen is to protect leads. Get him an advantage, and he’ll finish it out.

After the second balloting updates for the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote, Benoit was going to need some help from fans to earn the last spot on the American League roster.

And to get that extra help, the Tigers turned to, of all clubs, the team that beat them in the World Series.

The move appears to be giving Benoit some traction, as he moved up from fourth to third among the AL hopefuls when the latest balloting updates were announced Wednesday, with the lead maintained by Toronto’s Steve Delabar.

On Monday the Tigers and Giants announced a Final Vote partnership, encouraging Detroit fans to vote for Benoit as well as San Francisco outfielder Hunter Pence, and vice versa. The teams unveiled the #BackBenoit and #BackPence hashtags, the official tags to be used to vote for the pair during Thursday’s social media voting period between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET, which also marks the final six hours of voting.

Benoit has faced Pence five times, including twice in the Fall Classic, but he doesn’t know him personally.

“It’s a great way to start a friendship, I guess,” Benoit said. “We’ll vote for each other.”

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Now in its 12th year, the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Saturday’s Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and will end on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET. The winners will be announced on shortly thereafter.

The Tigers have had success building up players for the Final Vote before, getting Brandon Inge into the 2009 All-Star Game. They’ve also had success getting relievers recognized for stellar seasons with All-Star selections, such as Jose Valverde two years ago.

They’re hoping to do the same with Benoit, whose six saves in six opportunities and nine holds have continued his track record of quiet production and late-inning lockdown performances. No other reliever in the Final Vote brings the combination of saves and holds as Benoit, who earned his well-deserved chance to take over Detroit’s closer role last month.

Statistically, Benoit is enjoying his best year since his 2010 breakout season with Tampa Bay made him one of the game’s best setup men. With 46 strikeouts and just 28 hits over 36 1/3 innings, he has a level of stinginess not seen from a Tigers closer in a long time. Moreover, he has allowed just two home runs all year, a vast improvement from the 14 he gave up last year.

Along with left-hander Drew Smyly, Benoit has been the glue holding together Detroit’s bullpen through its struggles. Now is the opportunity for fans to return the favor.

The normally quiet Benoit isn’t going to campaign for himself.

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“I want to let the people decide,” he said. “Obviously, I want to go. It would a great experience.”

His teammates, however, are picking up the campaign for him.

“Thanks to all the fans who vote for our boys,” catcher Brayan Pena tweeted Sunday night. “You guys are the best. Please let’s get Benoit in!!”

Thanks to all the fans who vote for our boys , you guys are the best , please lets get Benoit in !! GOD BLESS U AMERICA GOOD NIGHT !!

– Brayan Pena (@cuban2727) July 7, 2013

There will be an extra treat for fans who participate in the Final Vote online. If you are not a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you are eligible to receive a 14-day free trial of MLB.TV from July 12-26. If you are a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you will receive a 15 percent discount to the Shop. will send an email on Friday to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.

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Mobile voting in the U.S. and Canada is open to everyone. In the U.S., to receive the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by mobile ballot, text the word “VOTE” to 89269. To vote for Benoit, simply text message A1 to 89269. In Canada, fans should text A1 to 101010. Standard message and data rates may apply. To vote for another player via text message, use the codes below.