Orioles get a trio in All-Star Game, Hammel a Final Vote

Prior to Sunday’s game, Orioles manager Buck Showalter smiled knowingly as he told reporters his club would have “fair representation” in this year’s All-Star Game. Several hours later, Showalter’s words held true, as closer Jim Johnson, catcher Matt Wieters and outfielder Adam Jones’ names were each called as part of the American League’s team during the MLB All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell.

The trio of AL All-Star reserves from Baltimore marks the first time since 2005 that the club has had more than one representative and gives a surging Orioles’ club a little national recognition.  The Selection Show also gave the Orioles a chance at a possible fourth inclusion in right-handed pitcher Jason Hammel, who is one of five A.L. Final Vote candidates.

“It’s pretty cool,” Jones said of the slew the Orioles will send to Kansas City.  “For the last seven years, it’s been one player. You have to win to get more than one player nowadays. It’s an accomplishment to our team and it’s good for three, possibly four, [with] Hammel, being voted in. Representing the Baltimore Orioles, its’ a tremendous accomplishment for us, as a team, also.”

“It makes it even more fun that you get to share something with your teammates that you’re battling the whole year with,” added Wieters, who was the Orioles’ representative in last year’s All-Star game.

Jones was an All-Star in 2009 and he will join Wieters with his second trip to the Midseason Classic, while Sunday’s selection marks the first of Johnson’s career.

“It shows, maybe, the direction the ballclub is going,”  said Johnson, who entered Sunday tied for the Major League lead with 23 saves. “To get some key guys, you know you can have a core group of guys and build from there, and obviously share something special with your teammates.”

Special is a good word for what the trio of All-Stars have done already this year. Jones, who signed a six-year extension in May, has posted a .300 batting average while leading the team in hits (92), home runs (19), RBIs (41) and steals (10).

Wieters is hitting .249 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs this season and ranks second in the League in throwing out 35.7 percent of potential base stealers.

Twenty three-saves aside, Johnson –who was named MLB’s Delivery Man of the Month in May — has a minuscule 1.30 ERA and .78 WHIP.

“You can look at any of the great closers in the game, and you can put Jim’s first half up there with anyone, and I’ll take Jim’s over everybody,” Wieters said.

“It’s something where the first time was great for me. It was just last year, and I’m looking forward to the second time, but I know he’s going to have a great time to just experience everything. It’s something where you don’t sleep much when you’re out there. It’s a good thing because there are a lot of things you want to experience.”

The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star 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. Pregame ceremonies begin at 7:30 p.m. (EDT)/6:30 p.m. (CDT).  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.

Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2012MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.

While Jones, Wieters and Johnson were excited to be selected, the emphasis shifts to the Orioles’ on field play, and –of course—helping bolster the campaign for Hammel, who is hoping to be voted into his first All-Star Game.
“That’s a large number,” Jones said of the potential for the Orioles to have four players. “You usually see Boston or New

York or Anaheim with four, but the men that are sitting here on this stage are four deserving men. We’ve put in the work. We battled. We obviously have a lot to go., It’s going to be an exciting second half here. There are other guys in the locker room that are very deserving, also. Our bullpen, if I could I’d take all of them. They’ve been outstanding for us.

It’s hard to just say there are only four deserving. It’s a team effort. There’s no way any of us could get here without each of the 25 guys including the coaches.”

Now in its 11th year, the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote presented by Firestone gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday’s MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and continues until Thursday, July 5 at 4 p.m. EDT. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.

Fans can use their mobile phone to cast votes via the mobile web atMLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the 2012 All-Star GameMLB.com Final Vote presented by Firestone mobile ballot, text the word “VOTE” to 89269. To vote for a specific player, simply text message your choice to 89269. EXAMPLE: Text “A3″ to vote for AL Player 3 or “N3″ to vote for NL Player 3.

“Obviously it’s a tremendous honor just to be in the Final Vote,” said Hammel who went 8-2 with a 2.61 ERA before putting himself on the All-Star bubble with a poor showing on Wednesday, when he allowed a career-high eight runs on eight hits and three walks in a season-low 3 1/3 innings. 

“You put in a lot of work. It’s not just myself. It’s a collective effort.. I couldn’t have done this without Matty and Jimmy closing out games, Jones running down balls. Everybody on this team has done something to help us get up here. It would be a nice personal accomplishment, but you still need the team to get to this point.”

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