Navarro may be heading to Bronx
Catcher has best chance of being Rays' All-Star selection
ST. PETERSBURG -- Considering his career year, Dioner Navarro is a likely candidate to be the Rays' representative on the American League All-Star team.
The announcement will be made on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on TBS, while the Rays are in the midst of an afternoon contest against the Royals at Tropicana Field.
"Whatever happens, happens," Navarro said. "All I know is we got a game to play at 1:40, and we have to win."
Yet the Rays' catcher confessed he has thought about making the team.
"It would be nice," Navarro said. "It would be nice if we go to the playoffs, the World Series and take a cruise for a month."
Even sweeter for Navarro would be going back to Yankee Stadium as an All-Star after starting his pro career with Yankees.
"That would be kind of cool, too," Navarro said. "But I'm still taking that cruise."
Since none of the Rays are in a realistic position to claim a starting spot through the fan vote, it's likely any Tampa Bay selection will be in the hands of Red Sox and American League manager Terry Francona. The rules require that each Major League club have at least one representative.
Rays manager Joe Maddon doesn't hide the fact that he's less than enthusiastic about the game.
"Honestly, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about All-Stars," Maddon said. "Now, in regard to our group, talking to Terry the other day, I thought he really had our team pegged very well.
"What I'd like to see is more than one guy make it. But it may not happen. It may just be one guy. But again, it speaks to the first half we've had. We've had a tremendous team first half, but individually, not as glorified. ... If you look at us, it's been a group achievement. If you can take a team to the All-Star Game, you take us."
Maddon believes Navarro, J.P. Howell, Scott Kazmir and Dan Wheeler have the best chance to be selected.
"Considering all the different things -- and Terry's got a tough job to do with all of this -- I think one, maybe two [Rays players will make the team], at the most," Maddon said. "There's a lot of qualified people out there, and everybody believes their baby is the prettiest. That's just how it works."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.