|USA Today Sports Images|
Bryce Harper has been elected by fans as an All-Star Game starter for the first time in his career, and teammate Jordan Zimmermann has been selected by fellow NL players to make his first career appearance in the Midsummer Classic.
Ian Desmond, meanwhile, will have to wait a bit longer to learn his All-Star fate. The shortstop is one of five NL players in the "Final Vote" competition and will need to beat out a star-studded group that includes Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Giants outfielder Hunter Pence in online balloting to earn his second straight All-Star selection.
While Zimmermann's selection seemed a foregone conclusion — he entered the day with an NL-leading 12 wins and a 2.46 ERA — Harper needed a late surge in fan voting to earn the starting nod for the July 16 game at New York's Citi Field.
When the most recent balloting totals were released by MLB on Tuesday, Harper found himself in fourth place among NL outfielders, trailing Atlanta's Justin Upton by about 15,000 votes. But perhaps bolstered by his return from the disabled list and the home run he hit on his first swing in five weeks, Harper made up the difference and in the process made some history.