Quentin named to AL All-Star team
Konerko has shot to make squad via Final Vote
CHICAGO -- Count outfielder Carlos Quentin among those slightly surprised by his standing as the lone White Sox All-Star representative, announced during the MLB All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell on Sunday.
"It's unexpected, honestly," said the second-time All-Star, speaking prior to Sunday's series finale at Wrigley Field, after being named as a players selection with 189 votes. "They told me, and I was shocked."
"I wish there were a couple more guys there," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "In the meanwhile, I'm glad they're not going there, so they don't have to play."
The 82nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be played on July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix. It will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. CT. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
While Quentin certainly is a deserving candidate, ranking among the American League leaders in extra-base hits (40, third), doubles (23, tied for fourth) and home runs (17, tied for sixth) entering Sunday's action, there ultimately might be more attention paid to the White Sox players who didn't make the team.
American League Final Vote candidate Paul Konerko ranks fifth in the American League with a .317 average, fourth in home runs at 21 and third in RBIs at 62. He also stands fifth in slugging percentage at .567. He has had an outstanding year defensively at first base, and continues to serve as the soul of a surging White Sox squad.
Right-handed starter Philip Humber has worked 103 2/3 innings during the 2011 season, allowing just 76 hits and 26 walks for a 0.98 WHIP, leaving him tied for fourth in that AL category. Humber's 2.69 ERA has him seventh overall, while his eight victories place him in an 11-way tie for eighth. Humber has flirted with no-hitters against the Yankees and the Nationals.
A case also could be made for Sergio Santos, whose full 2011 body of work as the White Sox closer is as dominant as any late-inning AL reliever. But in the case of Konerko, as a prime example, being All-Star worthy and finding a spot for him didn't quite mesh.
"We're loaded with first basemen," said Texas manager Ron Washington, who will be managing the 2011 AL All-Stars. "We have quite a few of them. [Konerko is] very deserving to be an All-Star, but only so many can go."
"To be honest, the guy carrying this team offensively all year was Paul Konerko," Quentin said. "There are some mixed feelings there. There's some hope that he gets added. I hope the powers that be can do that. He's the man on this team."
Quentin earned his first All-Star selection in 2008, when he was a bona fide AL Most Valuable Player candidate and finished with 36 home runs and 100 RBIs, despite missing September due to a fractured bone in his right wrist. He entered Sunday's series finale at Wrigley Field hitting .253 overall with the 17 homers and 49 RBIs, not to mention being hit by a Major League-high 17 pitches.
Maybe this honor will knock Quentin loose from a recent slump, as he is hitting .157 with two RBIs in his last 15 games. He also will be returning to the home of the D-backs, where his career began, without the hint of animosity for being traded back in 2007.
"I've never said anything bad about the Diamondbacks. Never will. It's baseball," Quentin said. "It's the way things turn out some times. I've just been very fortunate to be in the position where I can play on the field and get a chance to play every day, and that's all I've ever focused on."
Fans, having already decided the starters, this week will have the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and continues until 3 p.m. CT on Thursday, July 7. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
Mobile voting in the U.S. is exclusive to Sprint, Nextel and Boost subscribers. To receive the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 1122. To vote for a specific player, simply text message your choice to 1122. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Msg&Data Rates May Apply. Mobile voting in Canada is open to all carriers; fans should text their choices to 88555. Std rates may apply.
On July 12, fans once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevy via the 2011 All-Star Game MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
There's a chance for Quentin to win that honor, and with Konerko part of the AL Final Vote, he could still return home as a five-time All-Star and be in the mix. With three pitchers set to work next Sunday, making them unavailable for Tuesday's game, Humber also could get the call to join his teammate.
"Humber should be out there, Santos should be out there," said Guillen, who managed the AL to victory in the 2006 All-Star Game. "There's not that many people you can pick. A lot of guys that deserve to be out there are not going to be there."