Ron Washington set to make All-Star picks

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers manager Ron Washington is looking forward to filling out the rest of his American League All-Star lineup. And he says he has help from his coaching staff and John Blake, Rangers' executive VP of communications.

Washington has until Saturday night to turn in the roster.

The reality: Washington doesn't have as much freedom over those final spots as you might think. Here's a brief primer on how the process works for the AL:

* Fans select the starting nine for the AL, which includes the eight position players and the DH.

* Players select backups at the eight positions and the DH and they pick eight pitchers -- five starters and two relievers.

* With the total number of players at 26, there are eight more players that must be selected. One of those is picked by the fans as the "last player" on the team. Washington chooses the five players that are voted on by the fans. He can either go all position players or all pitchers for that spot. Most of the time, it's a position player.

* That leaves Washington with seven picks. First, he must choose players on teams that don't have a representative yet. That could be anywhere from three to five teams.

* Washington must also take at least 13 pitchers, so that means five of those seven picks (assuming the fan pick is a position player) have to be pitchers.

* Once the roster is picked, nothing changes until the Sunday prior to the All-Star Game. If starting pitchers picked for the All-Star Game pitch that day, they are ineligible for the active roster. But Washington doesn't get to pick their replacement. That's determined by the player votes. So the player next on the list goes and so on.

* Washington will know what those player votes are before he picks, so he could conceivably not pick a certain pitcher figuring that the players will get that player in should a starter or two need replacing. Of course, there's a risk there too. So he's likely to simply go with the players he feels are most deserving and then see what happens next week.

* How the players vote also impact how Washington goes about getting some of his own players on the team. Josh Hamilton could be voted in by the fans. Michael Young is probably going to get the nod at DH from the players (though Victor Martinez is in the discussion). But if Washington wants C.J. Wilson or Adrian Beltre or any other Ranger on the team, he'll probably have to make the pick himself.