Fans can make Young an All-Star

Fans can make Young an All-Star

SAN DIEGO -- Emerging as a dominant starter in his second full Major League season and first as a San Diego Padre, Chris Young has elevated to stature proportionate to his 6-foot-10 frame.

In order to join closer Trevor Hoffman in Pittsburgh for the July 11 All-Star Game as the National League's final selection, Young must prevail in competition with four other candidates in the Monster 2006 All-Star Final Vote.

"It'd be a great thrill and honor," Young said when informed of the ballot, "but that's not my focus right now. My focus is on my next start Saturday night in Washington. But I'd love to be part of it if I'm voted in."

Teammates, aware of the impact Young has had on the National League West leaders with his consistently brilliant work, joined forces in an impromptu "Vote For Young" campaign along with manager Bruce Bochy, who said Young "certainly deserves to be on the All-Star team for the way he's pitched all season."

"I would urge all of our fans to vote for Chris -- he's absolutely deserving of being an All-Star," said Jake Peavy, the club's 2005 representative in the Midsummer Classic. "He's been as good as anybody in baseball this year. He's carried this team. To me, it'd be a shame if he's not in that game, because he belongs in it.

"It'd be awesome to see him represent us."

Also on the ballot are Philadelphia's Bobby Abreu, Milwaukee's Chris Capuano, Los Angeles' Nomar Garciaparra and the New York Mets' Billy Wagner.

"He's as deserving as anybody for what he's done in the first half," Hoffman said of Young. "I'd like everybody to get on the Internet and vote for him. You can vote all night long and get him on that ballclub. I'm not that good with a computer, but I'll have my wife take care of that for me."

Young said that hearing such things from teammates "is probably more meaningful to me than it would be to make the All-Star team," adding that "respect from your peers is everything to an athlete."

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 Thursday. The winners will be announced on ESPN and shortly thereafter.

There are two ways for fans to vote for the 2006 All-Star Final Vote -- online now at, 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

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 will provide extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.

A Dallas native, Young has been one of the game's hottest pitchers, ranking among the NL leaders in ERA, winning percentage, opponents' batting average and strikeouts.

On May 30 at home against Colorado and on June 4 in Pittsburgh, Young put together what Bochy called "the two best back-to-back starts I've ever seen." This was coming from a man who caught Nolan Ryan and James Rodney Richard in Houston.

Against the Rockies, Young took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, losing it when Dallas boyhood friend Brad Hawpe singled. Young combined with Hoffman on a one-hit shutout. At Pittsburgh, he did not allow a hit through 5 2/3 innings, departing after eight innings having given up two hits and again combining with Hoffman on a shutout.

Young's string of scoreless innings ended at 18 when he yielded one run in six innings of his next start against Florida, striking out a career-high 12 batters.

Acquired in a six-player winter blockbuster deal with the Rangers after an impressive 12-7 rookie season, Young starred in baseball and basketball at Princeton. He was skilled enough in the pivot to be offered a guaranteed contract by the NBA's Sacramento Kings after the 2004 baseball season when he debuted in Texas with a 3-2 record.

Young turned it down, a decision he grows happier with every day.

"I loved basketball -- and still do -- but decided baseball had more upside for me in terms of longevity," Young said.

Young is well aware of the trend of power pitchers such as Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens finding success into their 40s, and Young grew up, like so many Texans, admiring the great Ryan, who was still throwing in the mid-90s in his mid-40s.

Young's height makes him unique in Mike Piazza's vast experience as a catcher.

"Chris has the same sort of qualities that help Randy Johnson from the left side," Piazza said. "When you're that tall, your plane for the hitter is so different. Chris likes to climb the ladder. It's tough for a hitter with two strikes to cover everything -- especially up. He has less chance to square up a ball and hit it hard.

"He's got great leverage and action on his ball. He's pretty athletic for a big guy. He knows what he wants to do out there. He gives us a chance to win. If he stays healthy, there's no reason why he can't continue to do what he's doing."

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.