Fans vote Cardinals third baseman Freese into All-Star Game

Friday, July 6, 2012
Cardinals third baseman David Freese celebrates with teammates after scoring a run during the fifth inning Thursday in St. Louis. (TOM GANNAM ~ Associated Press)

CHICAGO -- Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish was hit by a line drive during one All-Star game in Japan. He's hoping to avoid that mishap Tuesday.

Darvish and St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese are headed to the Midsummer Classic after fans voted them into next week's showcase in Kansas City.

"I feel very good," Darvish said Thursday through an interpreter. "I know the way that I got selected was a vote by the fans, so I appreciate all the fans who voted for me. I'm looking forward to it."

Darvish is the eighth Rangers player on the AL team managed by Texas' Ron Washington. He beat out four other pitchers: Chicago's Jake Peavy, Baltimore's Jason Hammel, Kansas City's Jonathan Broxton and the Angels' Ernesto Frieri.

"It just wasn't meant to be," said Peavy, who was supported by an aggressive marketing campaign by the White Sox. "Obviously we knew it's hard to outvote a country."

Cardinals third baseman David Freese dives to stops a ball hit during Sunday's game in St. Louis. (JEFF ROBERSON ~ Associated Press)

Freese emerged from an NL field that included Atlanta outfielder Michael Bourn, Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper and Arizona second baseman Aaron Hill.

"I'm happy, I'm thrilled," Freese said before St. Louis hosted the Rockies on Thursday night. "Thank you Cardinal Nation. Unbelievable support from friends, family and Cardinals fans."

Freese, the World Series and NL championship series MVP last fall, joins teammates Carlos Beltran, Rafael Furcal, Yadier Molina and Lance Lynn on the NL roster. Freese began the day with a .285 batting average, 13 homers and 50 RBIs.

"You stack up his numbers, and he's deserving," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "He made it happen."

Atlanta veteran third baseman Chipper Jones had been in the running for the NL spot before he was chosen as an injury replacement for Matt Kemp.

Online voting for the final spots ended Thursday.

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