Zambrano a Final Vote candidate

Zambrano a Final Vote candidate

CHICAGO -- If Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano is going to go to the All-Star Game, he's going to need a lot of help from his computer-savvy family, friends and fans.

The animated right-hander is one of the players vying for a spot via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Final Vote, which will determined by online voting. Zambrano's competition for the final spot on the National League team includes Houston's Roy Oswalt, San Diego's Chris Young, Pittsburgh's Tom Gorzelanny and Arizona's Brandon Webb.

Zambrano will get teammate Mark DeRosa's vote.

"He should be on it," DeRosa said of Zambrano, who is 9-6 with a 4.20 ERA in 17 starts. "The guy's an absolute horse."

The All-Star Game will be played July 10 in San Francisco.

The last Cubs player to be one of the Final Vote candidates was third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who finished second in 2004. What does Zambrano have to do to get votes?

"I guess he's just got to go out there and pitch good and show the people he deserves to be an All-Star," Ramirez said. "Hopefully, he can do that."

Want to see Zambrano in the All-Star Game? Now in its sixth year, the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting will begin immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Chevrolet, and continues until 5 p.m. CT on Thursday, July 5. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.

There are two ways for fans to vote for the 2007 All-Star Final Vote -- online now at MLB.com, or on-the-go from their cell phones. Fans also can text the word "VOTE" to 36197 to have the All-Star Final Vote candidates sent to your phone. To vote for a specific player, simply reply with your choice. Whether celebrating the Fourth of July or Canada Day, fans will have the freedom to vote from wherever they are. Standard rate text messaging fees apply -- please check with your mobile carrier for details. Fans can get the mobile ballot now. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 88555.

The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the Monster 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com.

The 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. CT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.

Zambrano is seeking his third trip to the All-Star Game. He's had a stellar June, with the exception of his first start June 1 vs. Atlanta. In that game, he gave up six earned runs over five innings and scuffled in the dugout with catcher Michael Barrett. Since then, he's 4-1 and given up six earned runs over 37 2/3 innings for a 1.43 ERA.

Zambrano matched a career high with 12 strikeouts against the White Sox, and ranks fifth in the NL with 94 K's. He's also among the NL leaders in home runs allowed (16), walks (47) and hit batsmen (seven).

Zambrano did pitch in the All-Star Game in 2004, giving up one hit and one run in one inning. He was named to the 2006 team but did not pitch because of a freak accident. He was accidently hit on the right elbow by White Sox coach Joey Cora during batting practice before the game, which was played at Pittsburgh's PNC Park. Zambrano was being interviewed by Venezuelan media, and then asked to pose with Minnesota pitcher Johan Santana when the incident happened.

"It was more my fault than [Cora's]," Zambrano said at the time.

Zambrano, 26, is scheduled to pitch Tuesday vs. Washington and Sunday vs. Pittsburgh. Cubs manager Lou Piniella had considered tweaking the rotation to make Zambrano available for the NL team. But Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Zambrano's side day would be the same day as the All-Star Game, so he's available.

If nominated by the fans, Zambrano would be the first Cubs pitcher named to three NL All-Star teams since Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter earned the honor four consecutive seasons from 1977-80.

Now, about that campaign slogan. Zambrano will need the fans' support.

"I can't think of a pitcher who's been hotter than 'Z' the last few weeks," said Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, who was named to the NL team. "He's been lights-out the last few starts, and he's continuing to get better. I think the fans know what 'Z' can do. if he's on the ballot, I'm sure he'll get some consideration."

So no need for a catchy slogan?

"You'll have to talk to 'Z,'" Lee said. "'Z's' a pretty good self-promoter. If he wants to be on that team, I have a feeling he'll be there."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.