The Washington Times - July 1, 2012, 01:29PM

ATLANTA — Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson strolled around the clubhouse Sunday morning, a smile plastered to his face, handing out good news to three of his best players this season.

Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Ian Desmond wil represent the Nationals at the 2012 All-Star Game July 10 in Kansas City, and the team could have a fourth with rookie phenom Bryce Harper selected for the Final Vote contest.

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The Nationals have never had more than two All-Stars in a season, more often than not only getting the requisite one sent to the mid-summer classic. But as the first-place team in the National League East and the owners of the best record in the NL, they were deserving of more this season.

“Obviously when you get more than one guy, get Desi and Gio in there, too it’s huge,” Strasburg said. “It means that we’re winning.”

Strasburg and Gonzalez were all but shoo-ins for the team given their impressive first halves atop the Nationals’ rotation. Strasburg, less than two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, is 9-3 with a 2.81 ERA. He is on a well-documented  innings limit this season but the Nationals have said that if selected and on schedule to pitch, he would be allowed to throw in the All-Star game.

Gonzalez, an All-Star for the second straight season, is 10-3 with a 2.78 mark entering his start on Sunday against the Braves and the Nationals are 24-7 in games started by the two of them.

“It’s going to be a tremendous experience and it’s a huge honor for me,” Strasburg said, feeling much better one day after requiring three IVs of saline solution due to dehydration in Atlanta. “It’s amazing to think where I was a year ago. It’s great to see the hard work has all paid off, but it’s not done. It’s only the halfway point in the year and we’ve still got a long ways to go.

“I’m excited to be a part of (the All-Star Game) but at the same time I want to help this team get to a World Series someday and get to the playoffs year-in and year-out.” 

While the Nationals’ pitchers were somewhat expected, Desmond — putting together easily the finest season of his career and one of the finest seasons of any shortstop in the major leagues — was a deserving candidate, if not a sure thing.

Desmond entered Sunday’s game hitting .276 with a .483 slugging percentage. He leads all major league shortstops with 38 extra-base hits, leads the Nationals in doubles (23) and is second on the team in home runs with 13, behind only first baseman Adam LaRoche.

Harper, the Nationals’ electrifying 19-year-old, will find out over the course of the next five days whether he will be joining his teammates. With a .274 average, .347 on-base percentage and 24 extra-base hits, including eight home runs, Harper is on the rookie league leader board in every offensive category.

Entering Sunday, Harper leads National League rookies in triples (4), is second in home runs (8), stolen bases (8), walks (24), extra-base hits (24), total bases (104), and multi-hit games (19). He’s third in on-base percentage (.347) and runs scored (36), fourth in RBIs (22) and slugging percentage (.475), and fifth in overall batting average (.274). 

Harper will be up against four other National League players: Michael Bourn, Chipper Jones, David Freese and Aaron Hill in the Final Vote, which fans can vote for at MLB.com until Thursday, July 5. Jones, 40, who likely presents the greatest challenge to Harper in the vote, is retiring after the 2012 season. 

Here are the full NL and AL rosters:

2012 NATIONAL LEAGUE ALL-STAR ROSTER

Bold = Fan-Elected Starter                                   Manager Tony La Russa

^ = Player Ballot-Elected                                                                   Terry Collins, NYM

* = Choice of Manager/MLB                                                                  Ron Roenicke, MIL

 

 

All-Star

PITCHERS (13)

Club

Selections

CAIN, Matt, RH ^

Giants

3rd

CHAPMAN, Aroldis, LH ^

Reds

1st

DICKEY, R.A., RH ^

Mets

1st

GONZALEZ, Gio, LH ^

Nationals

2nd

HAMELS, Cole, LH *

Phillies

3rd

HANRAHAN, Joel, RH ^

Pirates

2nd

KERSHAW, Clayton, LH *

Dodgers

2nd

KIMBREL, Craig, RH ^

Braves

2nd

LYNN, Lance, RH ^ 

Cardinals

1st

MILEY, Wade, LH *

D-backs

1st

PAPELBON, Jonathan, RH *

Phillies

5th

STRASBURG, Stephen, RH ^

Nationals

1st

STREET, Huston, RH *

Padres

1st

CATCHERS (3)

Club

Selections

Elections

MOLINA, Yadier ^

Cardinals

4th

 

POSEY, Buster

Giants

1st

1st

RUIZ, Carlos *

Phillies

1st

 

INFIELDERS (9)

Club

Selections

Elections

ALTUVE, Jose ^

Astros

1st

 

CASTRO, Starlin ^

Cubs

2nd

 

DESMOND, Ian *

Nationals

1st

 

FURCAL, Rafael

Cardinals

3rd

1st

LaHAIR, Bryan ^

Cubs

1st

 

SANDOVAL, Pablo

Giants

2nd

1st

UGGLA, Dan

Braves

3rd

1st

VOTTO, Joey

Reds

3rd

1st

WRIGHT, David ^

Mets

6th

 

OUTFIELDERS (8)

Club

Selections

Elections

BELTRAN, Carlos

Cardinals

7th

5th

BRAUN, Ryan ^

Brewers

5th

 

BRUCE, Jay *

Reds

2nd

 

CABRERA, Melky

Giants

1st

1st

GONZALEZ, Carlos ^

Rockies

1st

 

KEMP, Matt

Dodgers

2nd

2nd

McCUTCHEN, Andrew ^

Pirates

2nd

 

STANTON, Giancarlo *

Marlins

1st

 

N.L. Candidates, 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote

  • OF  MICHAEL  BOURN,  BRAVES
  • 3B  DAVID  FREESE,  CARDINALS
  • OF  BRYCE  HARPER,  NATIONALS
  • 2B  AARON  HILL,  DIAMONDBACKS
  • 3B  CHIPPER  JONES,  BRAVES

2012 AMERICAN LEAGUE ALL-STAR ROSTER

Bold = Fan-Elected Starter                      Manager Ron Washington, TEX

^ = Player Ballot-Elected                                                                          Bob Melvin, OAK

* = Choice of Manager/MLB                                                                             Ned Yost, KC

 

 

All-Star

PITCHERS (Currently 12 Active) 

Club

Selections

COOK, Ryan, RH *

Athletics

1st

HARRISON, Matt, LH *

Rangers

1st

HERNANDEZ, Felix, RH *

Mariners

3rd

JOHNSON, Jim, RH ^

Orioles

1st

NATHAN, Joe, RH *

Rangers

5th

PEREZ, Chris, RH ^

Indians

2nd

PRICE, David, LH ^

Rays

3rd

RODNEY, Fernando, RH ^

Rays

1st

SABATHIA, CC, LH (DL, Inactive) ^

Yankees

6th

SALE, Chris, LH ^

White Sox

1st

VERLANDER, Justin, RH ^

Tigers

5th

WEAVER, Jered, RH ^

Angels

3rd

WILSON, C.J., LH *

Angels

2nd

CATCHERS (3)

Club

Selections

Elections

MAUER, Joe *

Twins

5th

 

NAPOLI, Mike

Rangers

1st

1st

WIETERS, Matt ^

Orioles

2nd

 

INFIELDERS (9)

Club

Selections

Elections

ANDRUS, Elvis *

Rangers

2nd

 

BELTRE, Adrian

Rangers

3rd

1st

CABRERA, Asdrubal ^

Indians

2nd

 

CABRERA, Miguel ^

Tigers

7th

 

CANO, Robinson

Yankees

4th

3rd

FIELDER, Prince

Tigers

4th

3rd

JETER, Derek

Yankees

13th

8th

KINSLER, Ian ^

Rangers

3rd

 

KONERKO, Paul ^

White Sox

6th

 

OUTFIELDERS (6)

Club

Selections

Elections

BAUTISTA, Jose

Blue Jays

3rd

2nd

GRANDERSON, Curtis

Yankees

3rd

2nd

HAMILTON, Josh

Rangers

5th

5th

JONES, Adam ^

Orioles

2nd

 

TROUT, Mike ^

Angels

1st

 

TRUMBO, Mark ^

Angels

1st

 

DESIGNATED HITTERS (3)

Club

Selections

Elections

BUTLER, Billy *

Royals

1st

 

DUNN, Adam ^

White Sox

2nd

 

ORTIZ, David

Red Sox

8th

6th

A.L. Candidates, 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote 

  • RHP  JONATHAN  BROXTON,  ROYALS
  • RHP  YU  DARVISH,  RANGERS
  • RHP  ERNESTO  FRIERI,  ANGELS
  • RHP  JASON  HAMMEL,  ORIOLES
  • RHP  JAKE  PEAVY,  WHITE SOX