- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 6, 2013

Ian Desmond knows what he’s doing on the first day of the All-Star break.


Desmond, the Nationals shortstop, has a tee time scheduled. He will break it if he has to and he may well have to do that.

“If I get in and I’m healthy, I’m going, yeah,” said Desmond, more than willing to save his golf for another day.

Two Nationals have definitely made the team. Starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann will take his 12-3 record to New York for the July 16 game, courtesy of the players’ vote. Left fielder Bryce Harper will start, thanks to the fan balloting.

Desmond is one of the five players on the National League’s “final spot” balloting.

Voting ends Thursday. Los Angeles’ Yasiel Puig and Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman are also on that ballot, but even if Desmond falls short there, he could still get onto the roster. Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki, voted the NL’s starter at short, has been hurt.

“It’s an honor to be mentioned,” Desmond said. “Obviously not in, but to be in that group, to be, I guess, thought of, is good. I’ve come a long way since I came into the big leagues.”

He isn’t going to sweat the final vote or any injuries, he said. If he goes, he goes. If he doesn’t, he’ll play golf. Desmond was selected to the team last year but couldn’t go because of an oblique injury.

“I’ve said it before: My number one priority is playing for the Washington Nationals and trying to get to the World Series,” Desmond said. “Going to the All-Star Game is obviously a tremendous honor, but playing for the Washington Nationals and wearing a W on my chest means a lot more to me.”

Through 87 games, Desmond is batting .284 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI. He had nine home runs and 28 RBI in June. He also had a stretch of almost two months without making an error.

“They do a pretty good job picking the team every year, so it is what it is,” Desmond said.

Zimmermann’s selection has been a foregone conclusion for a long time. Though he was denied his 13th victory Saturday against the Padres, he’s been among the game’s best pitchers all season. He has an earned run average of 2.57.

Desmond and Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Zimmermann should be the National League’s starting pitcher.

He’s thrown three complete games this season and has gone at least seven innings in nine other starts.

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