Bautista selected as starter on All-Star team

Bautista selected as starter on All-Star team

Bautista selected as starter on All-Star team
TORONTO -- Jose Bautista is headed back to the All-Star Game after he was voted in by the fans for the second consecutive year.

Bautista finished third among American League outfielders with 4,971,155 votes. That ranked behind Texas' Josh Hamilton (11,073,744) and New York's Curtis Granderson (5,587,026).

This marks the third consecutive year that Bautista will represent the Blue Jays at the Midsummer Classic, and it's an experience that never gets old for the Dominican native.


"It feels great, again huge support from the fans, all of those votes," Bautista said after the results were revealed on Sunday during the MLB All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell.

"It's amazing that I see myself in that position and having so many people following me and showing me the love. I appreciate it, and all of my thanks goes out to everybody who voted."

Bautista survived a relatively slow start to the season before regaining the form that saw him win the Hank Aaron Award in each of the past two years.

The 31-year-old set a Blue Jays record by hitting 14 home runs during June, which was the most in any month by a player in club history. He finished the month by hitting .271 with a .408 on-base percentage and 30 RBIs in 27 games.

Bautista set an MLB record last season for most fan votes received by one player. He finished with 7,454,753, which surpassed the previous high mark of 6,069,688, set by Seattle's Ken Griffey, Jr. in 1994. Hamilton broke the record this year.

The number wasn't as high this season but still more than a million above fourth-place finisher Adam Jones of the Orioles. He's the first Blue Jays player voted into the All-Star Game since Carlos Delgado in 2003 and the ninth player in the club's 36-year history to receive the honor, with Roberto Alomar leading the way with three starts from 1991-93.

"I think just for the fact that I was there two years in a row -- once as a starter -- but two years in a row, I guess my name was fresh in people's minds," said Bautista, who added he was 99 percent sure he would also accept an invitation to participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby.

"After the first count, I wasn't in the top five but I had some votes. After I picked it up, everybody started voting again. Great feeling, I'm happy, excited and honored to be chosen again."

Last year, Bautista became the first player since Mark McGwire to lead the Major Leagues in home runs for two consecutive seasons. He entered play on Sunday once again atop the MLB rankings with 26 homers while posting a .239 average and a .908 OPS in 78 games this season.

The numbers have continued to impress ever since Bautista's breakout season in 2010, when he set a franchise record with 54 home runs. He's on pace for a similar campaign this year and has been a constant force out of the No. 3 spot in Toronto's batting order.

"With the way his season has unfolded, he is on pace for maybe the best offensive year of his career," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "To think he has hit 50-plus home runs already, one time, it's hard to imagine someone can improve upon that, and he's on pace to do just that.

"He's the leader by example. He leads by his conversations in the dugout and the clubhouse. By every definition of the word, he is a leader."

The 83rd Major League Baseball 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. Pregame ceremonies begin at 7:30 p.m. (ET). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.

Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.

The biggest disappointment for Bautista is that he won't be joined by Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion. The two have combined to become the AL's most powerful duo, but they won't be able to join forces in Kansas City on July 10.

Encarnacion wasn't selected to the AL team and didn't make The Final Vote. Kansas City's Jonathan Broxton, Texas' Yu Darvish, Los Angeles' Ernesto Frieri, Baltimore's Jason Hammel and Chicago's Jake Peavy were instead picked by Rangers manager Ron Washington to add another pitcher to the roster via fan voting for the final spot.

The snub for Encarnacion comes despite the fact that he is enjoying a breakthrough season at the plate. The Dominican native entered play on Sunday hitting .289 with 22 homers and 55 RBIs.

Bautista and Encarnacion have combined to hit 48 home runs, which is the most by any duo in the Major Leagues. New York's Granderson and Robinson Cano sit second at 42. It marked the first time since 2006 that two Toronto players have each hit 20-plus homers prior to July 1. Vernon Wells (20) and Troy Glaus (21) accomplished the feat during that 2006 campaign.

"A bigger disappointment that we didn't select him as players and I'm basically a little bit upset that he wasn't on the 34th man choice," Bautista said of Encarnacion. "But there's another way for him to get in, there are always doors that crack open, and to be honest with you, even if he was on the last man vote I don't think he would have had a chance anyways.

"It was a pretty good strategy by Ron Washington to try to get Darvish in there. The whole country of Japan is going to vote for him, so my congratulations go out to Darvish because he's going to make it for sure."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.