Despite his near-perfect performance since being traded from the San Diego Padres to the Angels on May 3, Ernesto Frieri is hardly a household name in the U.S. and abroad.
So it was hard for the 26-year-old reliever to be too upset about finishing fifth among five players in fan balloting for the final American League All-Star team berth this week.
Pitcher Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers earned the most fan votes to finish ahead of Chicago White Sox starter Jake Peavy, Baltimore Orioles starter Jason Hamel, Kansas City Royals closer Jonathan Broxton and Frieri, who has given up no runs and only seven hits in 24 1/3 innings with the Angels.
“I knew it was going to be like this,” said Frieri, who has 10 saves.
“It’s tough. Yu Darvish is huge in Japan, everybody knows who he is, and he’s doing really good here. And the Rangers are one of the most popular teams now. I knew he’d be tough to beat, but I’m just glad my name was included. That means a lot to me.”