Twins' Mauer, Mourneau earn starting spots in All-Star Game
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau have become a lethal combination hitting back-to-back in the Minnesota Twins' batting order.
Now the pair can't help but wonder what it would be like to do the same thing in the All-Star game.
Mauer was the top vote getter for the 81st All-Star game to be played July 13 in Anaheim and will be joined in the starting lineup by Morneau.
"You never know what the lineup is going to be, but it would be pretty cool if we're sitting in the three, four," Morneau said. "You never know. There are so many great players, you're happy just to be there."
Twins outfielder Delmon Young is one of five players vying for the last AL spot in the final vote.
Mauer racked up exactly 5,372,606 votes -- the third highest total of all time. The catcher is hitting .303 this season with three home runs and 34 RBIs.
He's the first catcher to earn the most votes since Texas' Ivan Rodriguez in 2000, and he joins Rod Carew as the only Twins' players in history to earn the honor. It will be Mauer's fourth appearance and third start.
"I keep telling them, as long as they'll have me, I'll keep coming back," Mauer said. "It's fun to be in that atmosphere. There's great players and to get in that game and see the amount of talent that is on the field is a lot of fun."
Morneau held off New York's Mark Teixeira and Detroit's Miguel Cabrera in the final tally, and finished with 2,933,355 votes. The occasion marks the first baseman's first start and fourth appearance.
"It's a compliment to our fans," Morneau said. "We've been drawing so well. That has a lot to do with it."
Minnesota has attracted droves of fans to its new outdoor ballpark, but Morneau's numbers show his worth.
He is second in the AL with a .344 average with 17 home runs and 55 RBI. He leads the league in on-base percentage with a .437 mark.
The pair are the first Twins teammates to start an All-Star game since 1968 when Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew earned the honor.
Although the new ballpark has been a possible boost to vote totals, Morneau knows Mauer's leading vote total was bolstered by his standing around the game.
"I think it's the first time in a while it hasn't been someone from New York," Morneau said. "It's crazy how far we've come here as far as the fan base going outside of Minnesota, because that's not just people voting from Minnesota and Twins territory. That's all across the country. It shows how he's thought of across the league and across the country."
Young's breakout season has put him into the final vote along with Chicago's Paul Konerko, New York's Nick Swisher, Texas' Michael Young and Kevin Youkilis from Boston.
"It's out of my control," Young said. "Be thankful that everything has gone pretty good this year, especially after last year missing time. It's an honor to be mentioned."