Rangers All-Stars enjoying the show
First-timer Teixeira, Midsummer Classic vets taking it all in
DETROIT -- The question during the last two seasons is not if a Rangers infielder is going to make the All-Star Game, it's how many will make it.
This year's Midsummer Classic will feature four-time All-Star second baseman Alfonso Soriano, two-time All-Star shortstop Michael Young and first-time All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira. Three-time All-Star pitcher Kenny Rogers, like Young and Soriano, was voted in by the players.
Last season, the 2004 All-Star Game in Houston boasted infielders Soriano, Young, and third baseman Hank Blalock, in addition to Rogers and closer Francisco Cordero.
"It's great for us individually and great for the organization," Teixeira said Monday as American League players met with the media. "To have three guys from the infield last year, and three this year, shows a lot about the Rangers and the talent we have on our team."
Teixeira's talent has been on display for most of the season. The switch-hitter is batting .290 with 25 home runs and 73 RBIs. He has scored 67 runs and has 21 doubles. Bright-eyed and enthusiastic, Teixeira greeted reporters as if they were members of his family during the 45-minute session.
Part of his glee could be due to the fact that he is scheduled to represent the United States in Monday night's Home Run Derby.
"This has been great," Teixeira said of his All-Star experience. "The whole atmosphere of the All-Star Game and all of the signs everywhere has been a lot of fun."
Teixeira was not alone in his eagerness to play in the game. Young, who sat at a table next to a never-ending group of media around Rogers' table, repeatedly expressed how honored he felt to be playing for the American League team. The unofficial captain of the Rangers built a strong case during the first half of the season, hitting .333 with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs. He has scored 66 runs.
"Definitely the most rewarding part of being in the All-Star Game is having the guys who are in the league select me to represent the league," Young said. "Especially, when you look at shortstops in our league and how much talent there is, it is something I do not take for granted. I'm very excited to be here, and in many ways, I have the same feeling I had last year."
Rogers, who is appealing his 20-game suspension and fine for an incident with two cameramen in Arlington, answered questions for almost an hour. He said he would like more attention focused on his actions on the field over the course of his career than his current situation off the field. His actions on the field speak volumes. The left-hander is 10-4 with a 2.54 ERA at the year's midway point.
"It's great to have Kenny here," Teixeira said. "He belongs here and he's an All-Star. Hopefully, he will answer all of his questions today and people will start looking at the way he pitches."
Soriano was not in attendance Monday because of the birth of his son, but is expected to play in Tuesday's game.
As for the Home Run Derby, Teixeira said he is going to stay calm and take a few pitches. He expects to be nervous but will feel better once he starts swinging.
At least that's the plan.
"I hope to put on a good show for everyone and not disappoint everybody rooting for the United States," Teixeira said. "It's going to be a lot of fun. The best approach is to be relaxed. I've been in a few before."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.