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Beltran, Molina among Cards' five All-Stars

Beltran, Molina among Cards' five All-Stars

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ST. LOUIS -- Matt Carpenter made his All-Star plans about three-to-four weeks ago, purchasing a pair of plane tickets so that he and his wife, Mackenzie, could go house-hunting in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

His realtor should soon expect a phone call.

Carpenter will have to wait a bit longer to settle on a new residence as his breakout season now includes an All-Star invitation. The second baseman was one of five Cardinals to be named to the National League team on Saturday. No NL team is better represented.

The selections include outfielder Carlos Beltran and catcher Yadier Molina, both of whom will be in the starting lineup after winning the fan vote at their respective positions. Molina received over 6.8 million votes, the most of any NL player. Beltran was less than 100,000 votes behind him as his total topped all outfielders.


They are joined on the roster by Carpenter and starter Adam Wainwright, who were elected through the players' vote, and first baseman Allen Craig, one of NL manager Bruce Bochy's selections.

This marks the third time in the last four years that the Cardinals have had at least five All-Star representatives. The Midsummer Classic will be played at Citi Field on July 16.

"I think it shows how we're built," Beltran said. "Carpenter and Craig are having just phenomenal seasons. Yadi Molina is having an MVP season. It really shows that we're a good team."

Beltran is the aged All-Star of the bunch, as this is his eighth selection since 2004. He collected his 51st RBI in the Cardinals' 5-4 win over the Marlins on Saturday and ranks in the top five among all NL outfielders in batting average (.305), slugging percentage (.537) and home runs (19).

"It's always emotional. It doesn't really get old," Beltran said. "I always call my mom, my dad and my wife to let them know. Even though in my heart, I knew I have a pretty good chance, you never know. At the end of the day, when you [learn] that you've made it, it makes it a happy moment."

Beltran gets to return to old stomping grounds, too. He went to his first baseball home last summer when the All-Star Game was played in Kansas City. This year, he'll be playing in a ballpark he helped open during his seven years with the Mets.

Molina, like Beltran, has become an All-Star regular. He has been named to five consecutive All-Star teams, and has been elected a starter three times. He leads the league with a .346 batting average and in conversations for being the league's Most Valuable Player through the first half.

Whether Molina will be able to play in the game will be dictated by health. Molina missed Saturday's game due to right knee irritation and was scheduled for an MRI.

Wainwright is an All-Star for the second time. He pitched a scoreless inning for the NL in 2010. With Wainwright's blessing, the Cardinals have shifted their rotation plans for next week, moving his next scheduled start up to Tuesday so that Wainwright can also pitch next Sunday, the final game of the first half.

Based on a rule amendment in the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, pitching the Sunday prior no longer precludes a pitcher from appearing in the All-Star Game. According to CBA rule O.4.ii, Wainwright will have the option of remaining on the active All-Star roster and pitching a maximum of one inning. If he is deemed unavailable to pitch ahead of time, a replacement pitcher would be named.

Wainwright was unaware of the rule change when he agreed to the rotation change, but said on Sunday that he would welcome the opportunity to still appear in the All-Star Game.

"Yes, I would love to pitch if they need me," Wainwright said. "If not, that's great, too."

Wainwright (11-5, 2.36 ERA) planned to take his family to New York to participate in the All-Star festivities regardless of his status. With Wainwright unavailable to throw more than one inning, that likely paves the way for Bochy to name Mets right-hander Matt Harvey as the NL's starting pitcher.

"He's pitched great and he's the hometown guy," said Wainwright, who received the fourth-most player votes among NL pitchers. "Why wouldn't you?"

Carpenter and Craig are both first-time All-Stars. For Carpenter, the honor comes just months after he won a job at a position he had hardly played before this season. He has since established himself as the Cardinals' catalyst atop the lineup.

Carpenter leads the league with 34 multihit games, has enjoyed two hitting streaks of at least 12 games and ranks second among all NL second basemen with 25 doubles and 65 runs scored.

"I've come a long way," Carpenter said. "In the offseason, I put a lot of time into [learning to play second]. It's paid off. I'm just extremely blessed to have the opportunity to be a Cardinal."

Carpenter noted that receiving the All-Star nod through the player vote provided added significance to the achievement.

"No disrespect to the fans, but honestly, for me, that's even more of a thrill that the guys you play against think that much of you, to vote you into a game like that is quite an honor," said Carpenter, who trailed Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips in the fan vote by less than 500,000 votes. "I'm extremely happy about that. It's a great feeling."

Craig, like Carpenter, is reworking his All-Star break itinerary as well. Craig had intended to stay in St. Louis to spend time with wife, Marie, and their baby girl. Now, he's going to be taking them to New York.

"It's a huge honor," Craig said. "It's not something where I necessarily came into the season with the priority of making an All-Star team. I just focused on my job and being in the middle of the lineup and playing first base. I knew that if I was playing well in that spot that our team was playing well and I'd have a shot."

Craig carved himself an everyday job at first this season after a few years of using his versatility to get on the field wherever and whenever he could. That versatility was likely among the factors Bochy considered when filling out his roster.

Craig leads the league with a .476 average with runners in scoring position and ranks second behind Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt with 68 RBIs.

"Regardless of how you get on the roster, it's a huge deal," said Craig, one of four position players picked by Bochy. "I respect the heck out of Bruce Bochy. He's a great manager ... and to have his support, as a player, that's pretty special. I think it makes it extra cool for me that he picked me."

From Saturday to Thursday, July 11, return to MLB.com and cast your 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com for the final player for each League's All-Star roster.

And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 84th 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. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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