Fans iden­tify new batch of stars

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

NEW YORK — Aaron Judge, Car­los Cor­rea and Nolan Are­nado led a new gen­er­a­tion of All-Stars, among 12 first-time starters elected by fans for the July 11 game at Mar­lins Park.

“I’ve got to call my fam­ily and tell them to book a flight to Mi­ami,” Judge said af­ter ros­ters were an­nounced Sun­day. “They’re go­ing to be ex­cited.”

The dozen first-time starters are the most since vot­ing was re­turned to fans in 1970.

Just one player was picked from the World Se­ries cham­pion Cubs: re­liever Wade Davis, who wasn’t even with Chicago when it ended a 108-year ti­tle drought last

fall. The Cubs had seven Al­lS­tars last sea­son, in­clud­ing their en­tire start­ing in­field.

“Frankly, we haven’t had many guys who were all that de­serv­ing,” Cubs pitcher

Jake Ar­ri­eta said.

The Cubs are 41-41 at the sea­son’s half­way point, 2 games be­hind the di­vi­sion-lead­ing Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers.

“Maybe this is ac­tu­ally a good thing,” said Chicago’s Joe Mad­don, who will man­age the NL. “Right now, rest is not a bad word.”

In a sign of the gen­er­a­tional change, the All-Stars with the most se­lec­tions are Los An­ge­les Dodgers pitcher Clay­ton Ker­shaw with eight and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina with seven. Detroit’s Miguel Cabr­era, the se­nior All-Star last year with 11 se­lec­tions, wasn’t picked for the first time since 2009.

Two of the first-time starters are from the Hous­ton Astros, who have the best record

in the ma­jor leagues: Cor­rea, the short­stop drafted first over­all in 2012, and out­fielder Ge­orge Springer. Sec­ond base­man Jose Al­tuve was elected to his third start.

“It’s some­thing that you dream about since you are a lit­tle kid, since you get drafted, since you sign a pro­fes­sional con­tract,” Cor­rea said.

Hous­ton pitch­ers Dal­las Keuchel (Arkansas Ra­zor­backs) and Lance McCullers Jr. were picked, as well, giv­ing the Astros five All-Stars, tied for the most with the New York Yan­kees, Cleve­land and Wash­ing­ton. Keuchel is hurt and won’t pitch.

Na­tion­als out­fielder Bryce Harper, sec­ond base­man Daniel Mur­phy and first base­man Ryan Zim­mer­man were elected to start, and Max Scherzer and Stephen Stras­burg were se­lected for the pitch­ing staff. Harper led fan vot­ing with 4.63 mil­lion bal­lots.

“Def­i­nitely hum­bled by fans, the way they treat me,” Harper said.

Zim­mer­man, 32, is an Al­lS­tar for the first time since 2009, when he was a re­serve third base­man.

“Yeah, sports are funny, man,” Zim­mer­man said. “It’s just a crazy path to get back, but it’s also pretty cool.”

Judge, a 6-7 rookie who leads the ma­jor leagues with 27 home runs, topped the AL with 4.49 mil­lion votes. He is joined in the out­field by Springer and Los An­ge­les An­gels star Mike Trout, who hopes to re­turn in time from a torn thumb lig­a­ment.

Cleve­land’s Jose Ramirez over­took Min­nesota’s Miguel Sano in the fi­nal days of bal­lot­ing to win the AL third base spot by about 54,000 votes, Toronto’s Justin 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.

Are­nado over­took the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, last year’s NL MVP, to win at third base by 180,000. Are­nado will be joined

in the NL lineup by Cincin­nati short­stop Zack Cozart, Rock­ies out­fielder Char­lie Black­mon, Mi­ami out­fielder Mar­cell Ozuna and San Francisco catcher Buster Posey. “It would be even more fun if there were a few more guys go­ing from the team,” said Posey, whose Giants are last in the NL West.

There were 11 first-time starters last sea­son in San Diego, the last year the win­ning league re­ceived home-field ad­van­tage in the World Se­ries. Un­der base­ball’s new la­bor con­tract, the Se­ries now starts in the ball­park of the pen­nant win­ner with the bet­ter record.

Catcher Gary Sanchez, in­jured sec­ond base­man Star­lin Cas­tro and pitch­ers Dellin Be­tances and Luis Sev­erino also were picked from the Yan­kees. Cleve­land is send­ing pitch­ers Corey Klu­ber and Andrew Miller, short­stop Francisco Lin­dor and out­fielder Michael Brant­ley.

“I’m just happy for Cleve­land,” said the In­di­ans’ Terry Fran­cona, who will man­age the AL. “I think the fans and the city — ev­ery­body should

be proud.”

Mar­lins out­fielder Gian­carlo Stan­ton was picked as a re­serve and plans to de­fend his Home Run Derby ti­tle on July 10. Judge also has been in­vited, and Los An­ge­les Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger, who leads the NL with 24 home runs, has said he will par­tic­i­pate.

“It is go­ing to be amaz­ing,” Stan­ton said. “Ei­ther way, the week was go­ing to be cool, but this makes it even cooler.”

Among the strong can­di­dates over­looked were Car­los Car­rasco, Jacob deGrom, Gio Gon­za­lez, Ivan Nova, Roberto Osuna, Anthony Rizzo, Travis Shaw, An­drel­ton Sim­mons, Justin Up­ton and Alex Wood.

Ros­ters were cut from 34 per league to 32 un­der the new la­bor deal, and on­line vot­ing de­ter­mines the last spot on each ros­ter. Elvis An­drus, Xan­der Bo­gaerts, Didi Gre­go­rius, Lo­gan Mor­ri­son and Mike Mous­takas are the AL can­di­dates, and Justin Bour, Bryant, Anthony Ren­don, Mark Reynolds and Justin Turner are on the NL bal­lot.


New York Yan­kees out­fielder Aaron Judge (right) and Hous­ton sec­ond base­man Jose Al­tuve were elected as starters for the Amer­i­can League in the Ma­jor League Base­ball All-Star game.

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