Angels, fans giving big push for Richards in Final Vote

Righty overwhelmed, humbled by support; balloting ends today, 1 p.m. PT

Angels, fans giving big push for Richards in Final Vote

ANAHEIM -- Garrett Richards had never had his name used as a hashtag.

But then the 26-year-old right-hander was named an American League Final Vote candidate Sunday and has seen "#VoteGRich" everywhere from Twitter and Instagram to behind second base, home plate and the mound.

"All this stuff is new to me," Richards said. "Honestly, I don't really know how to handle it. I'm just thankful for my teammates, the organization and the fans for coming together and making this possible."

In the latest AL update released Wednesday morning, Richards trailed Chicago's Chris Sale but led Detroit's Rick Porcello, Cleveland's Corey Kluber and Houston's Dallas Keuchel.

Richards said old friends from over the years and high school buddies have reached out to him to support his push to the All-Star Game.

"It's pretty crazy how many people have hit me up and told me, 'Hey, we're pulling for you' and, 'Hey, we've been voting,'" Richards said. "It's very humbling, and I'm very appreciative."

In his first full season as a starter, Richards has been dominant, holding batters to a league-low .196 batting average while posting a 2.71 ERA and 119 strikeouts. He struck out a career-high 11 batters in his last start Sunday against the Astros.

"It'd be cool to get in, but I've done my job as far as playing," Richards said. "It's in the fans' hands now."

Richards' teammates, however, have taken it into their own hands to campaign for the electric righty. All-Star Mike Trout has been adding "#VoteGRich" to nearly every tweet he has sent since Sunday, and both Trout and Howie Kendrick have appeared in short videos urging fans to vote for Richards.

"It may be a little overwhelming at times, but it's for a good reason and everyone's here on my behalf, so it's warming," Richards said.

Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters on Sunday, fans began voting to select 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 today at 1 p.m. PT.

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 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. PT today, 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:
AL nominees
Dallas Keuchel: #VoteKeuchel (A1)
Corey Kluber: #VoteKluber (A2)
Rick Porcello: #PickRick (A3)
Garrett Richards: #VoteGRich (A4)
Chris Sale: #TargetSale (A5)

NL nominees
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.

Matthew DeFranks is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MDeFranks. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.