Ian Desmond respectfully responded to questions about making the American League All-Star team, along with Texas Rangers teammate Cole Hamels.
The honor felt good, Desmond said, especially after he was forced to move to the outfield when he signed with the Rangers in February.
But he quickly pointed out that his goal has never been to be an All-Star after the Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 7-2 win against the Red Sox on Tuesday at Fenway Park.
“My goal is not for individual accolades,” said Desmond, who singled and scored one of two runs in the first inning against David Price. “I want to win a World Series. That’s why I came here. I didn’t come here to be an All-Star.”
Hamels and Desmond, both former All-Stars in the National League, are the Rangers’ lone representatives on Tuesday in San Diego. They were selected as reserves by other players. The Red Sox, with eight fewer wins than the Rangers, who have the most in the AL at 53-32, have seven All-Stars. It made no difference to Desmond.
“No one is keeping score of that. When the season is over no one is going to look back and say this team had seven All-Stars and this team had two All-Stars,” he said. “It’s going to be: This team won the World Series and everyone else came in second.”
The Rangers added a run in the sixth and four in the ninth, including a three-run homer by Robinson Chirinos, to pull away from the Red Sox. A.J. Griffin left with the game tied at 2-2 but Cesar Ramos, Shawn Tolleson, Jake Diekman, Matt Bush and Sam Dyson combined for five scoreless innings of relief.
It’s Desmond’s second All-Star selection. He was a reserve shortstop with the Nationals in 2012. Hamels was thrice an All-Star with the Phillies.
Hamels received the fourth-most player votes for American League pitchers. Desmond was fifth in the player voting for outfielders.
With a stolen base in the first inning, Desmond became the third Rangers player with 15 stolen bases and 15 homers before the All-Star break, joining Pudge Rodriguez (1999) and Ian Kinsler (2009).
“We expected him to be a good player but to change positions and be that kind of player, not only offensively, but defensively,” Adrian Beltre said. “He’s been our MVP, he’s carried the team so far.”
Desmond credited Rangers’ field coordinator Jayce Tingler for helping him learn the outfield. He credited the coaching staff and his teammates for believing in him during a slow start in which he batted .109 the first two weeks.
“I have to give a lot of credit to Ting. I showed up at spring training and he kind of sought me out,” Desmond said. “I had a bad year last year and kind of started something brand new. He’s been working me hard and it’s paying off. The rest of coaches and the guys in here all believed in me. It’s a product of all that. This certainly wasn’t done by myself.”
Hamels, who grew up near San Diego, is 9-2 with a 2.93 ERA.
“Having that opportunity, it’ll be probably a memorable one, probably more so for the family and friends who can be there,” he said. “I’ll soak it all in when I get there.”
“He’s been in the middle of absolutely everything we’ve done all year long,” manager Jeff Banister said. “In my mind, if we’re going to be limited to two, it was the right two guys. To have only two it speaks volumes to the team aspect of how our guys play.”
Designated hitter Prince Fielder was the lone representative for the Rangers last season. In 2014, Yu Darvish and Adrian Beltre were selected.
Fans voted in 11 first-time starters, the most since 2005. Here’s a look at the starting lineups:
Rangers at Red Sox
6:10 tonight, FSSW
C: Salvador Perez, Royals
1B: Eric Hosmer, Royals
2B: Jose Altuve, Astros
SS: Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
3B: Manny Machado, Orioles
OF: Mike Trout, Angels
OF: Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox
OF: Mookie Betts, Red Sox
DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox
C: Buster Posey, Giants
1B: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
2B: Ben Zobrist, Cubs
SS: Addison Russell, Cubs
3B: Kris Bryant, Cubs
OF: Bryce Harper, Nationals
OF: Yoenis Cespedes, Mets
OF: Dexter Fowler, Cubs