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Weekly MLB Report: Josh Hamilton Sets Record For All-Star Votes Received [VIDEO]

Josh Hamilton All Star
Layne Murdoch, Getty Images

Major League Baseball announced which players will represent their respective leagues at the All-Star Game in Kansas City on July 10. Here’s what’s happening in MLB this week:

Rangers, Yankees and Giants Dominate All-Star Rosters; Josh Hamilton Gets More Than 11 Million All-Star Votes

Texas Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton and San Francisco Giants’ catcher Buster Posey were the fan voting leaders in their respective leagues as the American and National League All-Star teams were announced on Sunday. Hamilton received a record total of more than 11 million votes. More than 390 million total votes were cast.

Hamilton will be joined on the American League team by six of his teammates, including starters Adrian Beltre at third base and Mike Napoli at catcher, as well as second-baseman Ian Kinsler, shortstop Elvis Andrus, and pitchers Matt Harrison and Joe Nathan. Fans elected New York Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter to his 13th All-Star team. Teammates Robinson Cano, at second base, and outfielder Curtis Granderson will join Jeter in the AL’s starting lineup. Designated hitter Billy Butler from the host Royals was among those reserves chosen by Texas manager Ron Washington.

Posey and Giants’ teammates outfielder Melky Cabrera and third-baseman Pablo Sandoval all will be in the starting lineup for the National League, which will be managed by retired St. Louis Cardinals’ manager Tony LaRussa.

MLB is once again allowing fans to decide the final player selected for each league via online balloting. Longtime Atlanta Braves’ third-baseman Chipper Jones and Washington Nationals’ rookie outfielder Bryce Harper are among the five-man final vote in the NL, while the AL final vote is made up of pitchers, including Texas rookie Yu Darvish.

See the complete All-Star rosters for each league.

New York Yankees Lose Sabathia and Pettite, Still Extend AL East Lead

This past Wednesday looked like it could be a turning point for the New York Yankees’ 2012 season. Though they were sitting in first place, the Bronx Bombers lost CC Sabathia to a groin injury and Andy Pettitte to a broken ankle on the same day. With two-fifths of their starting rotation headed for the disabled list, the Yankees had to scramble to get fresh arms in place for the weekend series against the White Sox. After splitting the four-game series against Chicago, New York is now six games ahead of Baltimore in the American League East.

Philadelphia Phillies Fall Out of Contention

After five straight National League East titles, the Philadelphia Phillies may be looking ahead to 2013. After being swept by Miami over the weekend, the Phillies (36-45) are now 11 games behind Washington in the NL East. Philadelphia traded relief pitcher Chad Qualls to the New York Yankees for cash on Sunday and swapped first-baseman/pinch-hitter Jim Thome to the Baltimore Orioles for two Class-A minor leaguers on Saturday. As the July 31 trading deadline approaches, the Phillies may not be finished trading away parts of their once-great team.

Play of the Week: Casper Wells, Seattle Mariners

Far out of contention, the Seattle Mariners are not having a memorable year. Don’t tell that to outfielder Casper Wells, who impressively supported the pitching of Felix Hernandez with these two fine catches in Thursday night’s 1-0 Seattle win over Boston. Click the arrow to watch the video:

Upcoming Series to Watch: Texas Rangers at Chicago White Sox

These two American League division leaders will square off in a three-game series beginning on Tuesday in Chicago. With hitters like Paul Konerko, Dayan Viciedo, Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Kevin Youkilis stocking their lineup, the White Sox (42-37) look to be legitimate contenders in the American League Central. The two-time defending AL champion-Texas Rangers (50-30) are the first major league team to 50 wins this season. With pitchers Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish performing well, the Rangers have a 5.5 game bulge on the Angels in the AL West and seem to be destined for the playoffs.

Fantasy Player to Add: Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants’ first-baseman Brandon Belt is delivering on the offensive promise often attached to him in the past. Belt had four homers and 12 RBIs over the last two weeks of June and now has a seasonal OPS of .855. With Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera helping fuel the Giants’ lineup, it’s time to add Belt to your roster.

Fantasy Player to Drop: Russell Martin, New York Yankees

While most of the New York Yankees are having typically outstanding offensive years, catcher Russell Martin has struggled. His 0-for-4 on Sunday means that Martin has just four hits over his last 46 at-bats (.087). Martin has eight home runs on the year, but if his batting average stays under .200, he may be in danger of losing playing time.

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