MILWAUKEE - The Mets and David Wright enjoyed a bit of sweet redemption Saturday when the third baseman was elected by fans to start in the All-Star Game at Citi Field. He will be joined by pitching sensation Matt Harvey, who earned an All-Star bid in his first full season. The righthander is a candidate to start the Midsummer Classic on July 16.
One year after electing the Giants' Pablo Sandoval, the fans made Wright an All-Star for the seventh time and a starter for the fifth time by a margin of more than 2 million votes. The honor comes in the same year in which Wright signed a seven-year, $138-million contract extension and officially was named the team captain.
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"Obviously, it's special," Wright said before the teams were announced. "Of course I'd like to participate. Fingers crossed. Hopefully, I'm there."
Wright's election capped a comeback in the voting after Sandoval took an early lead. The Mets, who were stung by their failure to get Wright elected as a starter a year ago, ramped up their efforts to drum up support. They even bombarded fans during games, urging them to vote, before an embarrassed Wright asked team officials to tone it down.
The most public example of the team's push came last month when Deadspin reported that staffers had discussed promoting Wright's candidacy with the help of Cougar Life, whose readers earlier had declared the 30-year-old Wright the most attractive player in baseball.
Wright will start for the fifth time, tying Darryl Strawberry for second most in team history. Mike Piazza holds the franchise record with six All-Star starts.
In 83 games, Wright is hitting .304 with 13 homers and 43 RBIs. Entering Saturday night, he ranked fourth in the NL with a .396 on-base percentage and seventh with a .524 slugging percentage. He was hitting .363 since June 5 after one of his only lulls of the first half.
Harvey (7-2, 2.27) will make his first All-Star appearance and perhaps his first start. NL manager Bruce Bochy recently said Harvey is a candidate for the honor.
In 123 innings, the 24-year-old Harvey leads the league in strikeouts (141), walks and hits per innings pitched (.911), and strikeouts per nine innings (10.3). "It hasn't quite hit home yet but it's definitely a huge honor," Harvey said. "I couldn't be more excited that it's in New York."
If Harvey is chosen to start, he will be the third Mets pitcher to earn the honor, joining Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden. "I'm kind of speechless with the whole thing," he said. "Obviously right now, it's really exciting and I'm looking forward to it."
Wright also is participating in the Home Run Derby as captain of the National League squad. Bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello or bullpen coach Ricky Bones will throw to Wright, who finished second in the 2006 Derby. Wright still is in the process of filling out the rest of the NL squad. Though he has a list of about 10 candidates, he can select only three.
Said Wright: "I didn't realize how much pressure it would be to come up with some hitters."