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Rangers' Darvish, Cardinals' Freese win fan vote

Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish was hit by a line drive during one All-Star game in Japan. He's hoping to avoid that mishap on Tuesday.

Darvish and St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese are headed to the Midsummer Classic after fans voted them into next week's showcase in Kansas City.

"I feel very good," Darvish said Thursday through an interpreter. "I know the way that I got selected was a vote by the fans, so I appreciate all the fans who voted for me. I'm looking forward to it."

Darvish is the eighth Rangers player on the AL team managed by Texas' Ron Washington. He beat out four other pitchers: Chicago's Jake Peavy, Baltimore's Jason Hammel, Kansas City's Jonathan Broxton and the Angels' Ernesto Frieri.

"It just wasn't meant to be," said Peavy, who was supported by an aggressive marketing campaign by the White Sox. "Obviously we knew it's hard to outvote a country."

Freese emerged from an NL field that included Atlanta outfielder Michael Bourn, Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper and Arizona second baseman Aaron Hill.

"I'm happy, I'm thrilled," Freese said before St. Louis hosted the Rockies on Thursday night. "Thank you Cardinal Nation. Unbelievable support from friends, family and Cardinals fans."

Freese, the World Series and NL championship series MVP last fall, joins teammates Carlos Beltran, Rafael Furcal, Yadier Molina and Lance Lynn on the NL roster. Freese began the day with a .285 batting average, 13 homers and 50 RBIs.

"You stack up his numbers and he's deserving," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "He made it happen."

Darvish has made a smooth adjustment to the major leagues after the Rangers committed more than $107 million to bring him to the U.S. The 25-year-old right-hander got a guaranteed $56 million, six-year contract and Texas also paid a record $51.7 million posting bid to his team in Japan.

Darvish responded by going 6-1 with a 2.60 ERA in his first eight starts. The rookie leveled off a bit but is 10-5 with a 3.59 ERA for the only team in the majors with 50 wins.

And now he's into his first major league All-Star game.

"I don't know where I stand amongst the team, I think I just want to stay quiet and stay out of the way of the players, not be a burden to them," he said. "I'll have (Rangers teammate) Matt Harrison act as my older brother, I'll just hide behind him all day."

Atlanta's Chipper Jones had been in the running for the NL spot before he was chosen as an injury replacement for Matt Kemp. Online voting for the final spots ended Thursday.