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Notes: Escobar still trails in Final Vote

Notes: Escobar still trails in Final Vote

ARLINGTON -- Kelvim Escobar's career is built on baffling people, but the tables are turned at the moment.

With Thursday's 3 p.m. PT deadline for MLB.com voting on the horizon, the Angels' right-hander can't figure out how he's trailing the leaders in the Final Vote for the last spot on the American League's All-Star team for the July 10 Midsummer Classic at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

"Everybody I know is voting for me, even in Venezuela," Escobar said. "I'm getting a lot of votes, I know that. But the last time I looked, I was way behind. All I can say is keep voting. We can't give up."

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. 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.

Born in La Guaira, Ven., and a resident of Barquisimeto in the offseason, Escobar began his Major League career in Toronto, meaning he has three countries to draw from in the online voting.

"I've been voting for Kelvim," said Angels teammate Ervin Santana, a Dominican Republic native. "We're doing everything we can for him, but he needs more votes. Our fans really need to help him out."

Escobar is deeply appreciative of all the kind words -- and votes -- that have flowed out of the Angels' clubhouse since he was named to the final Vote along with Boston's Hideki Okajima, Detroit's Jeremy Bonderman, Minnesota's Pat Neshek and Toronto's Roy Halladay, who are also in the running for the final spot on manager Jim Leyland's AL roster.

"Having some of the guys go to the computer and vote for me, that makes me feel good -- even if I don't make it," said Escobar. "I really want to make it, but if I don't, there's nothing I can do about it."

Okajima, drawing on the support of Red Sox Nation and his native Japan, held the lead in the latest tabulations, followed by Bonderman.

Escobar, 9-3 with a 3.32 ERA, has been one of the AL's dominant starters all season. By the time he makes his next start, on Thursday night against the Rangers, the Final Vote will be over, one way or another.

In a groove: When newly summoned Chris Resop pitched a perfect eighth inning on Tuesday night in his Angels debut, it continued a recent run of superb work. The 24-year-old right-hander hadn't allowed a run in his final eight outings with Triple-A Salt Lake, covering 14 1/3 innings.

"The confidence I was looking for, I found it," Resop said, having added a changeup to his fastball/curveball repertoire this season after spending last season in a variety of roles for the Marlins. "I quit trying to pick corners. I had to trust myself -- 'It's either me or you.'"

Resop, who was 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA in 22 games for the Marlins last year, was acquired from Florida in exchange for pitcher Kevin Gregg last November. Born and raised in Naples, Fla., Resop was a Class 4A all-state outfielder as a senior at Barron Collier High School and also lettered in football as a quarterback.

After signing as an outfielder in 2001, he separated his left shoulder swinging the bat in 2003 and was converted into a pitcher.

"I felt it swinging the bat," Resop said. "It just never felt right after I separated the shoulder. I had a decent arm in the outfield, and the organization asked me if I'd try pitching. It's worked out pretty well."

Mathis starts: With Jered Weaver on the mound, Jeff Mathis got his first start of the season behind the plate for the Angels on Wednesday night. Mathis hit .103 at the outset of the 2006 season before getting shipped to Salt Lake, but he was more upset about the team's 2-9 record in games he started. He finished the season hitting .145 with two homers and six RBIs in 23 games for the Angels.

The 24-year-old native of Marianna, Fla., was getting high marks from Salt Lake manager Brian Harper for his defensive work when he was summoned to fill the void left by Mike Napoli's trip to the 15-day disabled list with a deep bone contusion in his left shin.

Hit men: The Angels came into Wednesday night's game with more regulars hitting at least .300 -- five -- than any club in the Majors. Orlando Cabrera (.333), Reggie Willits (.330), Vladimir Guerrero (.328), Chone Figgins (.318), and Casey Kotchman (.306) head the hit parade, with Howie Kendrick (.299) knocking on the door.

Up next: Escobar faces Rangers right-hander Robinson Tejada (5-7, 6.57) in the finale of the three-game series on Thursday at 5:35 p.m. PT.

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

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