Notes: Young seeks Final Vote spot
Padres righty up for last opening on NL All-Star roster
PHILADELPHIA -- Chris Young, one of five National League players in contention for the last All-Star spot in the Final Vote, was gratified to learn he'd been named NL Pitcher of the Month for June. In typically restrained fashion, the Padres right-hander quickly tossed in a qualifier."I was a little bit [surprised], because I never thought about that," Young said. "It was a great month. But what I've said all along is one good month doesn't make a good season. I've got to put together a solid last three months, too." Young, who twice flirted with no-hitters in June and fashioned a league-best 1.17 ERA during the month, is in competition with Philadelphia's Bobby Abreu, Los Angeles' Nomar Garciaparra, Milwaukee's Chris Capuano and the New York Mets' Billy Wagner for the final spot on the NL All-Star roster, with the voting too close to call. Padres closer Trevor Hoffman was selected to the team. "I'd love to play [in the All-Star Game], love to go represent the team," Young said. "It would be a big honor, a thrill, but it's not going to be my focus. I'm not concerned about it. I'm really happy for Trevor. He definitely belongs in the game." Now in its fifth year, the Monster 2006 All-Star Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Chevrolet, and continues until 3 p.m. PT on Thursday. The winners will be announced on ESPN and MLB.com shortly thereafter.
There are two ways for fans to vote for the 2006 All-Star Final Vote -- online now at MLB.com, or on-the-go from their cell phones. Fans can also text the word "VOTE" to 36197 to receive the All-Star Final Vote Candidates sent to your phone. To vote for a specific player, simply reply with your choice. For $.30 per text message vote, fans will have the freedom to vote from wherever they are.
Fans can get the mobile ballot now. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 28776. 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 at the 77th All-Star Game via the Monster 2006 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com.
The All-Star Game, to be held at Pittsburgh's PNC Park on Tuesday, July 11, at 5 p.m. PT, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.
Todd Hutcheson, the Padres' head athletic trainer, checked Young's arm on Tuesday and told him it's "as good as my arm's felt all year." Young's solid mechanics have prevented him from having any arm troubles."Last year, the month of July was rough for me in Texas," he said, recalling his 0-2 record and 10.18 ERA in five starts. "I feel good physically. I was throwing some of my best pitches of the day to my last hitter [the Giants' Randy Winn] on Sunday." Young left with three Giants on base and two outs in the seventh after walking Winn in an 11-pitch at-bat. He absorbed the loss, dropping to 7-4, when all three runners scored. Roberts returns: Left fielder and leadoff catalyst Dave Roberts rejoined the Padres on Tuesday, having played five innings for Class A Lake Elsinore on Sunday at "about 85 percent," according to manager Bruce Bochy. "I'm kind of in a holding pattern," Roberts said as Eric Young started in left field against southpaw Cole Hamels on Tuesday. "I know it's close."
Bochy thinks Roberts should be ready to play on Wednesday night.Roberts suffered a bruised right knee crashing into the concrete base of the left-field wall at Angel Stadium on June 17 and has been on the disabled list since. He was in the midst of his finest season, by his own evaluation, batting .295 with 18 extra-base hits and a .365 on-base percentage. "I feel really lucky," Roberts said. "This could have been season-ending. I talked to [former Red Sox teammate] Bill Mueller. He did the same thing in Chicago and had surgery on his knee. "I was conscious when I was on the ground. A lot of negative thoughts went through my mind. I knew it was the end of my season. I was a foot and a half from the wall when I went into my slide. I think it was just luck ... or good karma, good living." Johnson improving: Ben Johnson, who had a seven-game hitting streak in Roberts' absence, was improving but still feeling the effects on the top of his left shoulder from his collision with Mike Cameron at PETCO Park on Saturday. Johnson took batting practice in a cage before Tuesday's game. "It hurts to get extended and pull through," Johnson said. "Hopefully, it's just a couple days away. It's a lot better than it was two days ago. I was taking a couple of good hacks, but as I went on it started hurting more and more every time I'd take a swing." Still dangerous: Bochy didn't want to hear about the Phillies' struggles, with losses in 15 of their past 19 games. The Padres were 0-6 against the Phillies this season entering Tuesday's opener and 1-5 in 2005. "This is a good ballclub," Bochy said. "They have beat on us the last couple years. I know the players they have. We need to be on top of our game." Coming up: Jake Peavy (4-8, 4.50 ERA) gets the call on Wednesday against right-hander Scott Mathieson (0-2, 6.75 ERA) at 4:05 p.m. PT. Mathieson, who pitched for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic, is making his third career start.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.