7/6/2013 9:07 P.M. ET
Final Vote can land Uehara in All-Star Game
Thriving as fill-in closer, Red Sox right-hander looks for first berth
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Koji Uehara's stellar first season with the Red Sox could land him on the American League's All-Star team.
Although Uehara wasn't on the AL All-Star roster that was announced on Saturday, he is one of the five candidates in the running for the Final Vote.
After starting the season as Boston's setup man, Uehara was promoted to the role of closer on June 21. Uehara has flourished in the ninth inning, just as he did in the seventh and eighth earlier in the season.
"I'm of course happy, but it's not like I've already been chosen," Uehara said. "When I actually get chosen, I'll probably explode with excitement."
In 39 appearances, Uehara is 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA. Uehara has 52 strikeouts and just eight walks in 37 innings. Opponents are hitting .160 against him.
"I didn't think that I was in position to be even considered for the All-Star team. So I don't know what to think," Uehara said.
If he is successful in his quest to make the team, Uehara will gladly re-arrange his schedule.
"I was going to book some tee times," said Uehara.
Now in its 12th year, the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Saturday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and ends Thursday at 4 p.m. ET. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
There will be an extra treat for fans who participate in the Final Vote online. If you are not a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you are eligible to receive a 14-day free trial of MLB.TV from July 12-26. If you are a current MLB.TV subscriber (MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium), you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will send an email on July 12 to all Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.
Mobile voting in the U.S. and Canada is open to everyone. In the U.S., to receive the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com mobile ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, simply text message your choice using the codes below to 89269 (Example: Text "A1" to vote for Joaquin Benoit). In Canada, fans should text their choices to 101010. Standard message and data rates may apply. To vote for your player via text message, use the codes below.
A1 - Joaquin Benoit, Detroit
A2 - Steve Delabar, Toronto
A3 - David Robertson, New York Yankees
A4 - Tanner Scheppers, Texas
A5 - Koji Uehara, Boston
N1 - Ian Desmond, Washington
N2 - Freddie Freeman, Atlanta
N3 - Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles
N4 - Hunter Pence, San Francisco
N5 - Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles
For the second consecutive year, the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com (#FinalVote) will include a social balloting element as Twitter support from the candidates' fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final totals. From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the overall vote total used to determine the AL and NL winners. Fans may follow @MLB on the popular social networking service for the latest standings updates in advance of the 4 p.m. ET balloting deadline.
The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2013 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Uehara is trying to become the fourth Red Sox player to win an All-Star berth via the Final Vote. Johnny Damon was the first in 2002, followed by Jason Varitek in '03 and Hideki Okajima in '07.
"It might be somewhat reminiscent of '07 when Hideki was on that list of five and he probably had an entire country backing him in the voting, and hopefully it takes place again for Koji," said manager John Farrell.
The competition for Uehara are all relievers. They are Joaquin Benoit of the Tigers, the Blue Jays' Steve Delabar, Yankees reliever David Robertson and Tanner Scheppers of the Rangers.
In a short amount of time, Uehara, a fun-loving character, has become one of the most popular players on the Red Sox.
"I'm taking him," said slugger David Ortiz, one of three Red Sox All-Stars this year. "I'm taking him with me no matter what. That's my boy."