BALTIMORE (AP) — Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is delighted to be going to his second All-Star game for reasons that extend beyond fan recognition.
Hardy will receive an extra $500,000 from the Orioles next year as a reward for being selected, increasing the worth of his contract to $7.5 million. The bonus clause was inserted into his contract shortly before he signed a three-year deal in July 2011.
"It was kind of like a last minute, toward-the-end-of-the-contract deal," Hardy said Saturday.
"It's definitely not a bad bonus, but by no means is that the only reason I'm excited about going," he said. "It's an honor for fans to vote me in. It's special."
The 30-year-old Hardy won the fan balloting as the American League shortstop with 5,283,144 votes. Teammates Chris Davis and Adam Jones were also voted in, and third baseman Manny Machado was added to squad for Tuesday night's game.
Hardy entered play Saturday batting .251 with 16 homers and 51 RBIs. He had a .192 batting average with three home runs on April 29, but a 13-game hitting streak in May got him back on track.
"I'm always looking for consistency," he said. "That April was really tough. It seemed like six months all by itself. And then there was a month and a half there when I felt pretty good."
Hardy is 5 for 38 in July, but that includes a three-run homer Friday night that proved to be the difference in Baltimore's 8-5 win over Toronto.
"I've been struggling, searching for consistency again the last two weeks," he said. "Overall, though, my numbers are OK."
This will be Hardy's second appearance in the All-Star game. He started in 2007 for the NL when he was playing with Milwaukee.
Some players prefer to take some time off during the All-Star break, but Hardy wouldn't want to be anywhere else than in New York for the game — even if that $500,000 clause wasn't in his contract.
"We all want to be at the All-Star game, and when you get voted in by the fans it's even more special," he said. "You want to be there."