Fans will get to vote for the starting position players in next month’s All-Star Game up until 11:59 p.m. on July 2. But Friday, players will help select the backups at each position, plus eight pitchers (five starters and three relievers).
Second baseman Dan Uggla, a two-time All-Star, probably be won’t be joining Hanley Ramirez this year on the NL team in St. Louis. But Uggla hopes ace Josh Johnson, scheduled to pitch Friday against the Rays, finds a spot in the midsummer classic despite what Uggla said hasn’t been enough support or publicity from the organization.
“I don’t know what we’re waiting for,” Uggla said. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the game, if not the best. I’m waiting for these guys to do something to get his name out there – a little publicity, commercial, something.”
According to Marlins PR man Matt Roebuck players are allowed to vote for teammates and themselves.
Johnson is 7-1 this season with a 2.66 ERA, the sixth lowest among starters in the league. Last week, he gave up three hits and one earned run over seven innings in a 2-1 win over the Yankees and drew high praise from both Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter.
“He deserves an opportunity to pitch in the All-Star game,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
“There’s no hiding him anymore. Not that we were hiding him. Guys around the league are figuring out he’s one of the top guys in the league. Ross Gload was playing first base in Toronto two weeks ago when he pitched and guys were coming up saying ‘I’m glad this guy isn’t in our league.’ When guys from other leagues start paying a compliment, you know they’re good."
The Marlins have posters through out Land Shark Stadium that urge fans to vote Ramirez, who is currently the leading vote getter at shortstop. Fans can’t vote for pitchers.
Jorge Cantu had a rough month of May (.211, 1 HR, 15 RBI) in part because of the medication he was prescribed to deal with high cholesterol. It made him lethargic and at times dizzy on the field and at the plate.
Now, that he’s no longer taking the pills and had more than a week to have it cleaned out of his system, Cantu is not only feeling better, but he’s hitting better.
Tuesday night, he connected on his second walk-off hit of the season and third game-ending RBI. Cantu not only leads the Marlins in RBI (45), but is tied with Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder in clutch RBI (27).
While Cantu said his bat speed and timing are returning, he still isn’t completely 100 percent. “If I make mistakes from now on, it is on me, nothing else,” Cantu said. “I wish I felt 100 percent. I’m just not there yet.”
Outfielder Mike Stanton, one of baseball’s top prospects, will represent the Marlins in the All-Star Futures Game in St. Louis next month. The 19-year old Stanton will be the youngest player in the game.
Stanton was recently called up to Double A Jacksonville after hitting .294 with 12 homers and 39 RBI in 50 games for the Class A Jupiter. Although he struggled early in Double A, Stanton is now batting .246 with two homers and 8 RBI in his first 17 games with the Suns.