‘Smoaking’ the vote
Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak among 12 first-time All-Star starters
Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak was among 12 first-time starters elected Sunday for the All-Star Game at Miami on July 11, the most since voting was returned to fans in 1970.
Smoak has 22 home runs and is hitting .303 - both career highs - so far this season for Toronto. He stepped into the starting first baseman role for the Blue Jays after former allstar Edwin Encarnacion signed with the Cleveland Indians as a free agent in the off-season.
“It’s awesome. It’s an honour. I think it’s something as a young kid you always dreamed of. It’s what you wanted to be was an all-star in the big leagues,” said Smoak.
“I think early in my career, coming up through the minor leagues and getting drafted, that’s what I expected of myself. It didn’t happen that way but I’m here now and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Smoak bounced back to beat Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer by 555,000 at first base, and Tampa Bay’s Corey Dickerson rallied to win at designated hitter by nearly 75,000 over Seattle’s Nelson Cruz. The Royals’ Salvador Perez won at catcher.
Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa and Nolan Arenado are also first-time all-stars.