07/04/10 2:55 PM ET
Ethier, Broxton named Dodgers All-Stars
Outfielder to start in Anaheim; hard-throwing closer returns
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Ethier overcame a broken finger and stint on the disabled list to earn his first All-Star appearance. The 28-year-old finished second in outfield fan voting behind Milwaukee's Ryan Braun with more than 2.7 million votes. He is the first Dodgers outfielder voted into the starting lineup since Darryl Strawberry in 1991.
The 26-year-old Broxton earned the berth through player, manager and coach balloting. He is making a repeat visit to the All-Star Game, although a sore toe made him a spectator last year.
The announcement was made on the MLB All-Star Selection Show on TBS. The players got the news on phone calls from manager Joe Torre.
"In Either's case, it's the first time and it's got to be exciting," Torre said. "Now there's such a big fuss made over the All-Star Game, and rightfully so. It's an experience to be around the best players in the game. Broxton was appreciative. They're both excited about it."
Fans, having already decided the starters and this week the 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 Chevy via the 2010 All-Star Game MVP Vote sponsored by Sprint on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
The 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 5 p.m. PT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
"It's a big honor to be singled out amongst all the good outfielders in the league and be considered one of the top three by the fans," Ethier said. "It's something I never imagined happening. It's something special."
For the first six weeks of the season, Ethier was at or near the top of the NL leader lists for all three Triple Crown categories -- batting average, home runs and RBIs. But in a freak batting-practice accident May 15 in San Diego, Ethier broke the little finger on his right hand swinging a bat and spent 15 days on the disabled list.
Rushing back with a splint on the finger, Ethier hadn't been the same hitter, but made recent mechanical adjustments and seems to have his stroke back.
"I feel a lot better mechanics-wise," he said. "I sat down with Donnie [Mattingly, hitting coach] and figured that out where I'm more comfortable so I'm ready and prepared going into the game to contribute every at-bat."
Ethier's fan popularity is no doubt partially in recognition of his 2009 breakout season, when he hit 31 homers with 106 RBIs and was named the Pepsi MLB Clutch Player of the Year for leading the Major Leagues with six walk-off hits, four of them home runs. He had the Dodgers' first 30-homer season since Adrian Beltre in 2004, first 40-double season since Shawn Green in 2003 and was only the fourth player in franchise history to do both in the same season, joining Babe Herman in 1930, Raul Mondesi in 1997 and Eric Karros in 1999.
Broxton remains efficient in closing out games, if not as dominant as a year ago because he no longer hits triple digits on the radar gun, preferring to pitch more to contact. His saves total is down because his team's win total is down from a year ago, but his ERA is also lower. Broxton had only one save in the Dodgers' first 28 games, but 15 in their next 50. "I hope this year I can be healthy and get out there and pitch," Broxton said. "This is awesome."
The soft-spoken Broxton was uncomfortable when asked to acknowledge that All-Star berths mark him as one of the best closers in the game.
"If that's a fact, I really don't like to talk about it," he said. "I just go out every day and try to get better. That's a big part of what I do."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.