CINCINNATI -- Cubs players were busy texting and submitting votes online Monday for first baseman Anthony Rizzo, one of five National League finalists for the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Even Cubs manager Rick Renteria checked Rizzo's name.
"Hey, everybody better be voting for Rizzo," Renteria said Monday. "It'd be a great thing if everybody gets out there and puts a vote in for him. He's done a really nice job and we're pulling for him."
Fans can vote now to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until the winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday.
And you can vote as many times as you want. Fans can vote for Rizzo by visiting www.cubs.com/vote or by texting "N4" to 89269 between now and Thursday at 3 p.m. CT.
Rizzo began play Monday leading all NL first basemen in home runs (17), and was sixth in RBIs (45) and batting average (.276), and fifth in on-base percentage (.384).
It's a nice comeback after last season when Rizzo was batting .241 at the All-Star break with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs.
"With all the ups and downs he went through last year, and all that he did this year -- working his body in the offseason, and working on his mental game, too -- he has the numbers and he deserves it," Cubs pitcher Carlos Villanueva said of Rizzo. "He's in a tough position at first base in the National League, but of all the guys who I saw on the list, and I'm an average fan and I'm looking at the numbers, and I'm looking, I'm voting for him."
Since April 30, Rizzo has hit 14 home runs, second most in the NL, and tied for ninth-most in the Majors in that span. In his last 60 games, he has a .385 on-base percentage and a .904 OPS, plus 11 doubles, 14 homers and 35 RBIs. Of his 11 home runs since May 8, nine have given the Cubs the lead and one has tied the game.
"When it comes to numbers and who's deserving and a guy who has made an impact on our team -- just imagine if we didn't have Rizzo," Villanueva said. "A guy like Rendon has all the other guys [on the Nationals], McGehee has [Giancarlo] Stanton. If we didn't have Rizzo, where would we be? He's our co-MVP and he deserves to be there. We're going to make a push for him. I told all my family in the Dominican to vote for him."
Rizzo has heard from family and friends as well since voting started Sunday night.
"I've gotten a lot of support and it's been really nice," Rizzo said. "I've heard through Twitter and from family and friends and people I hadn't heard from in a long time have sent stuff. It's overwhelming, the amount of support, which is really nice. This is exciting for myself and my family and the Cubs as well."
The Cubs are pushing for votes through social media and filmed some of Rizzo's teammates talking about the first baseman's credentials, which will be used in the television broadcasts during the series in Cincinnati. Stay tuned. Some of the comments are pretty funny.
The Cubs also plan on a sweepstakes and will offer prizes to people who vote the most. Stay tuned for that, too.
The Cubs and Tigers have paired up in an effort to garner votes for both Rizzo and Detroit pitcher Rick Porcello, who is one of the American League Final Vote candidates. Rizzo and Porcello were drafted in the same year, 2007, and Rizzo vaguely remembers playing in an All-America game in Cape Cod against the right-hander, who was the 27th pick overall. Rizzo was selected in the sixth round.
Plus, they're both of Italian heritage. What else could be better?
Voting started immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters on Sunday. Fans are selecting the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until the winners are announced after the voting concludes on Thursday at 3 p.m. CT.
Fans can also cast votes on the mobile web at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the Final Vote ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. For example: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Standard message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.
For the third consecutive year, the All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote will include social balloting participation, as Twitter support from the 10 candidates' fans over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their final vote totals. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners. Fans will be able to follow @MLB for the latest standings updates over the course of the entire four-day voting period.
The hashtags and text designations are as follows:
Dallas Keuchel: #VoteKeuchel (A1)
Corey Kluber: #VoteKluber (A2)
Rick Porcello: #PickRick (A3)
Garrett Richards: #VoteGRich (A4)
Chris Sale: #TargetSale (A5)
Casey McGehee: #VoteHitsMcGehee (N1)
Justin Morneau: #VoteMorneau (N2)
Anthony Rendon: #VoteRendon (N3)
Anthony Rizzo: #VoteRizzo (N4)
Justin Upton: #VoteJUp (N5)
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again allow fans to help choose the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. 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.
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.Less