TORONTO -- The Blue Jays sported new T-shirts Sunday in support of teammate Steve Delabar's bid to make the all-star game.
The shirts read RaiseTheBar and VoteDelabar.
Fans can vote on mlb.com for the final player on each of the American League and National League all-star rosters for the July 16 game in New York at the home of the Mets.
Delabar's AL rivals in the vote are also pitchers: David Robertson of the Yankees, Boston's Koji Uehara, Texas' Tanner Scheppers and Detroit's Joaquin Benoit.
The National League vote is probably more clear-cut with Washington shortstop Ian Desmond, first basemen Freddie Freeman of Atlanta and Adrian Gonzalez of Los Angeles, and San Diego outfielder Hunter Pence up against Dodgers outfield sensation Yasiel Puig.
"To be considered is an honour," said Delabar, wearing one of the new T-shirts. "There's a lot of guys out there that could be in consideration for the final vote."
The Jays are partnering with the Atlanta Braves, asking their fans to fill the lineup holes by voting for Delabar and Freeman.
Should Delabar win, the hard-throwing reliever will join teammates Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and fellow pitcher Brett Cecil. Jays manager John Gibbons will also be there, as a coach for the AL squad.
The Kentucky native went into Sunday's game against Minnesota with 57 strikeouts (tied for the league lead among AL relievers) in 40 innings and a 5-1 record.
Delabar had not surrendered more than two runs in any of his 35 appearances and had given up just four earned runs in his last 31 1/3 innings pitched.
After two major arm surgeries, he made his major-league debut Sept. 11, 2011 as a Seattle Mariner, against the Kansas City Royals. He was traded to Toronto in July 2012 in exchange for outfielder Eric Thames. He finished the season with a 4-3 record with a 3.82 ERA, striking out 92 and walking 26 in 66 innings.
The pitcher said he would have laughed if someone had told him three years ago that he would be in consideration for baseball's all-star game.
"You kind of just go day by day. You never expect something like this to happen."
-- The Canadian Press
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