July 6, 2009
By DREW DAVISON / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
A year after taking New York by storm with a remarkable showing in the home run derby, Josh Hamilton is going back to the All-Star Game.
Hamilton, who returns from the DL today following surgery on a torn abdominal muscle, received the third-most votes for outfielders and will start for the American League in the 80th All-Star Game on July 14 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. It will be his second straight All-Star appearance.
"It's definitely an honor, but I do have mixed feelings about it," said Hamilton, who will not compete in this year's home run derby. "I don't feel personally I should go, but, at the same time, the fans voted me in, so I'm real happy about that."
Hamilton, who has played in 35 of the Rangers' 79 games, will be joined by teammate Michael Young, selected for the sixth straight season as a reserve.
Young moved from shortstop to third base in the off-season and is hitting a team-high .314 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs.
"It means a lot," Young said. "Going back to the winter, there was tons of uncertainty on how it all would play out. I'm really honored to be a player selection. It's the ultimate honor."
Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler was passed in the fan voting by Boston's Dustin Pedroia in the final week.
Kinsler still has a chance to make the team, however. He is one of five players vying for the final AL spot, which is voted on by the fans.
"I don't have much of a reaction. It's pretty simple: He got more votes than me," Kinsler said. "I want to go to the game, so I'm glad I'm in the final vote."
Rangers ace Kevin Millwood won't have a similar chance.
Millwood (8-5) had All-Star credentials in the first half, posting a 2.80 ERA, fifth best in the AL. Still, it wasn't enough for AL and Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon to select him.
Maddon said Millwood could have easily been selected.
"It was real tough," Maddon said. "Once you get a chance to walk in the choosing shoes, it's not fun. You know you're going to disappoint some people, and it really stinks. But I'm a big admirer of Kevin, and I think he's a great pitcher."
Millwood, who is scheduled to start today against the Angels, was not available for comment Sunday because he was flying to Los Angeles.
Rangers manager Ron Washington said he was "really disappointed" Millwood was left off the team.
"I don't think there's anyone in the game who has been more important to his team as he has been for us," Washington said. "Whenever we needed it, he delivered."