ARLINGTON, Texas -- Give All-Star manager Ron Washington, Rangers pitching coaches Mike Maddux and Andy Hawkins and VP of communications John Blake credit for making Yu Darvish's All-Star fate rest with the fans.
The reality is that Darvish was among a handful of pitchers with solid numbers, but not considered All-Star locks. So what do you do with a rookie who is popular around the league, has 10 wins, but lacks the overall stats of some of the other pitchers on the team? You toss him in a pool with four others players and make the fans choose.
Matt Harrison and Joe Nathan are on the club as they should be. Washington picked both of them. But Washington couldn't also pick Darvish. There were too many other options and pitchers having better seasons. This was one way to give Darvish a chance to make the squad despite not being picked for a spot Sunday.
And in Darvish's case, it's tough not to like his chances. Voting is international, and I would imagine those not only in Japan, but around the world would like to see Darvish get a chance to throw some pitches in the All-Star Game on July 10 in Kansas City.
"In order to get the guys that I feel are All-Stars on there, and Yu is one of them, I just feel like he has a good chance of winning the five-man vote," Washington said. "I'm encouraging our fans to get out there and make sure that it happens. He and Nathan and Harry are having outstanding years and I do feel like each and every one of them deserve to be an All-Star and I felt like this was the best way we could do this to make sure that happens."
Basically, the Rangers are hoping that Darvish has enough appeal to get in the game without Washington having to pick him as a reserve. He'll need to beat out four other players -- the Royals' Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Angels' Ernesto Frieri, Jake Peavy of the White Sox and Jason Hammel of the Orioles -- to do it.
So it's up to the fans. They've got between now and Thursday at 3 p.m. central time to vote. There's no limit to the number of times fans can vote in this election, and judging by how the Rangers fans got Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli in the All-Star Game as starters, Darvish has a great opportunity to play in the game as a rookie. Smart move by a manager, coaching staff and front office staff that is putting together a roster for the second straight year.