Manager Ron Washington has to have the American League All-Star team picked by next Saturday, a day ahead of its unveiling. Players have started filling out their ballots, and fan voting continues online only through Thursday.
Washington gets seven picks, but that isn't as significant as it sounds. From that pool Washington must make sure that each team has a representative, and five from the pool must be pitchers.
His biggest hurdle this year might be having to explain why so many Rangers are on the team, or explain to the deserving Rangers not selected why he didn't pick them.
Three pitchers and five positions players would not be a stretch.
The Rangers are looking at three starters via fan balloting: Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli. Ian Kinsler's lead at second base had narrowed, but he could very well end up on the team anyway as a reserve via the player vote. Elvis Andrus could be the backup shortstop.
Joe Nathan is most deserving among the pitching staff. Yu Darvish could get a nod, and Matt Harrison could, too. Heck, Robbie Ross has earned consideration, but he wasn't on the players' ballot. Colby Lewis' teammates believe he should be on the team.
Washington, who used a manager's choice last year on C.J. Wilson, could very well use one on another Rangers starter. Maybe two.
He's going to have some explaining to do, whether it's five Rangers on the AL team or eight.
-- Jeff Wilson