SAN FRANCISCO -- No Cubs players were in the top five in balloting in the latest voting update for the 85th All-Star Game but manager Rick Renteria feels he does have players deserving of the honor.
"We have a couple guys who have stepped it up," Renteria said Wednesday. "I think [Anthony Rizzo] has shown he's continued to improve his game, and Starlin [Castro] has done a nice job. I think certainly Jeff [Samardzija], the way he's been pitching, his record not withstanding, his ERA is phenomenal. He's pitched like an All-Star."
Fans don't get to vote for the pitchers, but Renteria will campaign for Samardzija, who ranks second in the Major Leagues with a 1.68 ERA, trailing the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright (1.67). Wainwright is 8-2, while Samardzija ended a 16-start winless streak with his first win Monday and is 1-4 in 10 outings this season.
"He's been pitching fantastic and pitching like an All-Star, which he is," Renteria said of the right-hander.
Rizzo entered Wednesday's game batting .263 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs and was ranked among the top 25 in the NL in batting average against left-handers. A two-time All-Star, Castro was batting .277, a significant improvement over his .245 average last season, and had seven home runs and 25 RBIs.
Last year, Travis Wood was the Cubs' lone All-Star representative.
Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
The 2014 All-Star teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5-6, with further details to follow on MLB.com. The AL will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL will have eight fan-elected starters. Pitchers and reserves for both squads -- totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL -- will be determined through a combination of "Player Ballot" choices and selections made by All-Star managers Mike Matheny (NL) and John Farrell (AL).
Immediately following the announcement of the rosters, you can select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Choose again at that point from among five players in each league. The Final Vote returns for its 13th season with more than 430 million votes cast to date, and you'll be able to make selections on MLB.com, club sites and your mobile device.
You'll be on a voting tear at that point, having already selected starters and the last men, and the ritual will not end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the big game, vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi. The fan voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Renteria said Samardzija's record may not rank him among the top pitchers in the league, but he hoped people looked beyond that.
"We have to always look at everything in context," Renteria said of his Opening Day starter. "The way he's pitched, he certainly deserves a nod and sincere consideration based on his performance. I will certainly lobby for him."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.