WASHINGTON - David Wright rode a late surge of fan balloting to earn the starting third baseman's spot in the All-Star Game July 13. Jose Reyes slipped in as a reserve, in what Major League Baseball described as a replacement for the injured Troy Tulowitzki. Mike Pelfrey, however, was snubbed by National League manager Charlie Manuel.
Wright trailed the Phillies' Placido Polanco by roughly 23,000 votes going into the last week and then buried him in the final tally. Wright received a total of 2,285,959, easily surpassing Polanco (1,792,413) to earn his fourth starting spot and fifth appearance overall.
"It's a tremendous honor," Wright said. "Obviously, I'm very grateful to the fans that came on late and pushed me and got me that opportunity to start. I take a lot of pride in that. To be mentioned among some of the great players in the game is an incredible honor."
Wright certainly deserved the trip. He's batting .315 with 14 home runs and an NL-best 64 RBIs. Before yesterday's game, Jerry Manuel not only labeled him an All-Star but nominated him for an even greater honor.
"I'd have to almost talk about him as the MVP of the first half, no question," Manuel said.
For Reyes, there was a great deal of personal satisfaction coming off last year, when he played only 36 games because of numerous hamstring issues and needed surgery.
After a slow start, which included opening the year on the disabled list because of a thyroid issue, Reyes has hit .346 since May 20 to raise his average from .210 to .277.
"I feel good about it," said Reyes, who is making his third All-Star appearance. "There were a lot of things I had to go through over the last year and a half and I've been selected to the All-Star team, it's big for me. I'm going to enjoy it."
Reyes has missed the last five games because of a strained oblique muscle in his right side, but Manuel said he expects the shortstop to start Tuesday against the Reds.
Reyes does not anticipate the injury keeping him from playing in the Midsummer Classic. "It's still a week away, so let's see what happens," he said. "I feel a lot better. I was running today and didn't feel anything."
As for Pelfrey - who's scheduled to pitch Sunday and thus would not have been eligible to pitch in the All-Star Game - he said he's OK with Charlie Manuel's decision to keep him off the team.
Pelfrey (10-2, 2.93 ERA) is third in the National League in victories behind Ubaldo Jimenez (14) and Adam Wainwright (12). Four of the eight starters selected have eight wins. Pelfrey's .833 winning percentage ranks second, but he is not among the top 10 in any other major pitching category.
"I'm not angry at all," Pelfrey said, although he added: "It -- that I didn't make it. Leading up to it, I thought it was kind of going to be a tough decision anyway. It was going to be pretty hard because a lot of guys were having good years. But it gives me a chance to go home to Wichita and see my house, which I miss a lot.''