Wells up for All-Star selection
Center fielder among eight Jays on 2007 All-Star ballot
TORONTO -- There are times that Vernon Wells simply makes it look easy in center field. Wells' ability to seemingly effortlessly track down fly balls leaves Blue Jays manager John Gibbons shaking his head.
"His timing is always perfect," Gibbons said on Sunday. "He saves you a lot of runs. There's no statistic for that, but he saves you a lot of runs during the year."
Wells also produces his fair share, which is a main reason he's emerged as the centerpiece of Toronto's potent offense. Last season, Wells hit .302 with 32 home runs and a team-high 106 RBIs. He also made his first start as a member of the American League All-Star team. Wells is off to a good start again, belting three homers through Toronto's first 12 games.
Wells, who is a three-time AL Gold Glove Award winner, leads a cast of eight Blue Jays who appear on this season's AL ballot for the 78th All-Star Game, which takes place on July 10 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Voting at Rogers Centre begins on April 27 and concludes on June 16.
In 2006, Toronto had five players named to the AL All-Star squad -- the club's highest total since 1993. Fans can try to continue that trend by casting their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2007 All-Star Online Ballot at MLB.com, and all 30 club sites until June 28 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Fans around the world will again have the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team via the Monster 2007 All-Star Final Vote. The vote will begin immediately following the 2007 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show Presented by Chevrolet, which will be televised by Turner Sports on Sunday, July 1.
Selecting the rosters isn't the end of the fun in 2007, either. Concluding the All-Star balloting process, fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote at MLB.com.
The All-Star Game 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 offer extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will have exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.
Toronto's All-Star candidates this year include Wells, first baseman Lyle Overbay, second baseman Aaron Hill, shortstop Royce Clayton, third baseman Troy Glaus, catcher Gregg Zaun, right fielder Alex Rios and left fielder Reed Johnson. Wells, Glaus and Rios, along with pitchers Roy Halladay and B.J. Ryan, represented the Jays at the All-Star Game last season.
Toronto has been bitten by the injury bug early in the season, though. Glaus, who led the Jays with 38 home runs last year and had two through eight games this season, is expected to be on the 15-day disabled list until at least late April with a tight hamstring and a bone spur in his left heel.
The Blue Jays will also be without Johnson, who led the team with a .319 average in '06, until at least July after he had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. Ryan recorded 38 saves last season, but he is on the DL with a strained ligament in his left elbow that will keep him out of action up to six weeks.
"Troy goes down. Reed's down for a while. Now B.J.," Jays starter Josh Towers said recently. "That's three big boys on this team right now."
Toronto's biggest offseason acquisition, Frank Thomas, was omitted from this year's ballot, which doesn't include designated hitters because the game is being hosted in a National League park. In order for Thomas -- fourth in the AL Most Valuable Player voting last year -- to make the team, he'd need a healthy sum of write-in votes.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.