ARLINGTON — Snubs are a part of the All-Star voting and selection process. It’s inevitable, as Ron Washington would tell you.That’s why Washington is breathing easy before the All-Star rosters are announced Saturday for the Midsummer Classic on July 16 at Citi Field in New York. He had to make those difficult decisions the past two years, but now it’s in the hands of Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, an honor given to the manager of the reigning American League champions.The Texas Rangers have a handful of players worthy of consideration. Yu Darvish and Derek Holland have pitched well, outfielder Nelson Cruz has put up impressive power numbers and third baseman Adrian Beltre has been his consistent self.But Washington believes there is only one lock on the team — closer Joe Nathan.Nathan, 38, entered Friday’s game with 28 saves and a 1.43 ERA. The 28 saves rank as the most before the All-Star break in Rangers history, and a personal best for Nathan with nine games to go before the break.“He’s been outstanding,” Washington said. “He’s been needed very much and taken on a much heavier workload than he has in the past, at least with us. He’s answered the bell each time. I think he’s a lock.”Nathan, a five-time All-Star, grew up in the New York area and followed the Mets as a youngster.“It’d be pretty cool,” Nathan said. “I haven’t been to Citi Field at all, so that’s another thing that would be pretty sweet to do. But I know a lot of guys are deserving of going, and there always seem to be guys who are deserving that don’t make it, so we’ll see what happens.”Darvish and Cruz seem to be the next most likely selections on the team. Darvish leads the league in strikeouts (151), is tied for the third-best ERA (2.78) and fourth-best WHIP (1.01). Darvish won the fans’ final vote to get the last spot on the AL roster last year as a rookie.“It doesn’t really matter to me, not much importance,” Darvish said.Cruz was an All-Star in 2009 and competed in the Home Run Derby as well. He was sixth in the AL outfield vote in the final balloting update.As far as another appearance in the Home Run Derby, Cruz straddled the fence. Going into Friday, he ranked sixth in the AL with 20 home runs and said he has talked with AL Home Run Derby captain Robinson Cano.“It depends on how I feel,” said Cruz, the last Rangers participant in the derby. “If I feel like my body is rested, I will. If I feel like I need rest, I won’t.”Holland and Beltre appear to be the long shots. Holland has never been to an All-Star Game, while Beltre has been selected to the last three.But Holland could be passed over for teams who need to have at least one representative, and Beltre has stiff competition at third base from Miguel Cabrera, Manny Machado and Evan Longoria.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison