All-Star Game reaction: 'It's pretty surreal'

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Matt Harrison's phone rang about 10 minutes before the official announcement of the 2012 All-Star team, and the left-handed starting pitcher heard a familiar voice.

Texas Rangers manager and AL skipper Ron Washington called to let Harrison know he had made the team.

"He told me to keep it to myself," Harrison said. "That wasn't easy, because I wanted to call a bunch of family members. But I did."

Harrison, 26, will be making his first All-Star Game appearance following an 11-3 first half with a 3.16 ERA in 16 starts. He's become a reliable, consistent starter and one that Washington determined deserves his chance to pitch on the big Midsummer Classic stage.

"It's pretty surreal, I guess," Harrison said. "I can't really explain it. It really hasn't sunk in yet. I guess it will in a week when I get on the field with those guys. I'm honored to have this opportunity. I'm very humbled. I can't believe it."

Harrison is one of a team-record seven players who will represent the Rangers at the All-Star Game. It could be eight, should Yu Darvish win the final vote going on until Thursday at 3 p.m. central time.

The list includes three infielders as Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus are also on the squad. Beltre was voted in as a starter by the fans, Kinsler was picked by the players and Andrus earned his ticket from the manager. Outfielder Josh Hamilton and catcher Mike Napoli also were voted in as starters, and closer Joe Nathan joins Harrison on the pitching staff.

"I'm excited about it," Kinsler said. "It's always an honor to be named to the All-Star team. I think right now we have seven players going, possibly eight. It's going to be a good time.

"Anytime you get votes from the players and your peers, it means a lot. It's definitely something I take to heart."

This is the first time Beltre has been voted in by the fans. But it will be his second consecutive start in an All-Star Game. He started for Alex Rodriguez last year because Rodriguez had knee soreness.

Napoli is making his first All-Star Game trip. He hasn't had the first half he wanted at the plate, but has been a big part of helping the club's pitching staff continue to perform at a high level even while battling injuries.

"It's great. I'm definitely happy," Napoli said. "Hopefully, I can get in the game and do something to help us win."

Nathan returns to the All-Star Game for the fifth time and pitched one inning each in his previous appearances (2004, '05, '08 and '09) with the Twins.

“This one’s special for sure," Nathan said. "To go through Tommy John, this means a lot to get back to this level and being this consistent. A lot of people helped me out. When Wash called to let me know the news it just kind of hit me that this kind of marks something to get back where I wanted to be. A lot of people probably doubted that I’d be back at this level. I told him it’s an honor to join him, but that doesn’t speak words for how I’m feeling.”