Are­nado leads four Rock­ies all-star picks

Black­mon also will start; LeMahieu, Hol­land join team

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Patrick Saun­ders

PHOENIX» The Rock­ies’ club­house was a somber place Sun­day af­ter the club fell 4-3 to Ari­zona, los­ing for the 10th time in 11 games. But the trou­bling slump didn’t elim­i­nate the sat­is­fac­tion of a job well done for the four Rock­ies named to the Al­lS­tar Game.

Four-time Gold Glove third base­man Nolan Are­nado and cen­ter fielder Char­lie Black­mon were voted in as starters by the fans. Sec­ond base­man D.J. LeMahieu and closer Greg Hol­land also will be mem­bers of the Na­tional League squad.

First base­man Mark Reynolds could make the team as a fifth Rockie, should he win the so-called fi­nal fan vote go­ing on this week­end through on­line vot­ing.

“It’s re­ally cool, and I’m very ap­pre­cia­tive and thank­ful to have the sup­port of the fans,” said Black­mon, who made the All-Star Game as a re­serve in 2014. “This is a big deal in my book, be­cause that’s why we play — for the fans.”

Black­mon, who leads the NL with 104 hits, is bat­ting .313 with 17 home runs, 58 RBIs and a big league best 10 triples.

Are­nado, who was voted in by the play­ers in 2015 and 2016, didn’t hide his pride at be­ing se­lected by the fans.

“It’s huge. I’m so thank­ful for the fans,” said Are­nado, who’s hit­ting .298, with 15 home runs, 62 RBIs and 27 dou­bles, tied for most in the ma­jors. “The last cou­ple of years I got close, but other third base­men had great years. But to get voted in like this? It’s un­be­liev­able.

“I’m so glad they ap­pre­ci­ate my game, be­cause they don’t get to see me play that much. I think the game is go­ing to be a

lot of fun.

The All-Star Game will be played July 11 at Mar­lins Park in Mi­ami. Are­nado be­came the first third base­man in Rock­ies his­tory to earn a fan elec­tion, and just the third in­fielder, join­ing first base­man Todd Hel­ton (2001-03) and short­stop Troy Tu­low­itzki (2013-14).

Hol­land, who has 26 saves in 27 chances this sea­son, was an al­ls­tar in 2014 and 2015 in the Amer­i­can League with Kansas City. Hol­land un­der­went Tommy John surgery in Oc­to­ber 2015 and missed all of last sea­son. To be­come an all-star with a new team, in a new league, in his first year back from in­jury, brings him im­mense sat­is­fac­tion.

“It was tough on me, at times, dur­ing my re­hab process,” he said. “But this is very re­ward­ing and very hum­bling. It’s al­ways a plea­sure to be rec­og­nized.”

Hol­land ad­mit­ted it was tough to get overly ex­cited in the wake of Colorado’s re­cent per­for­mance, but he cred­ited his teammates for help­ing him be­come an all-star again.

“This is the cul­mi­na­tion that comes when you have an op­por­tu­nity to fin­ish off wins, and that says a lot about our team,” said Hol­land, who has a 1.48 ERA in 32 ap­pear­ances. “I try to stay in the mo­ment, when it comes to per­sonal suc­cess, So I’ll prob­a­bly ap­pre­ci­ate this more some­day, a long way down the road when I’m sit­ting on my couch with my kids, telling them about these ex­pe­ri­ences.”

LeMahieu, the 2016 NL bat­ting cham­pion, was caught a lit­tle off guard by his se­lec­tion.

“It’s re­ally cool, and it’s an honor,” he said. “And I’m a lit­tle sur­prised. In any given year, you never know what’s go­ing to hap­pen. I think the way our team has played gave us some recog­ni­tion. So I’m re­ally ex­cited. I know it’s been a re­ally tough road trip, but we are ea­ger to get home and fin­ish the first part of this sea­son strong.”

Reynolds, who is hit­ting .286 with 19 homers and 61 RBIs and is en­joy­ing one of the best seasons of his ca­reer at age 33, has a chance to make his first Al­lS­tar Game via the fan on­line vote to se­lect the fi­nal player for each league’s 32-man ros­ter.

“It would be fun. I’ve al­ways wanted to en­joy that ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Reynolds, who has never been an all-star. “I have some pretty stiff competition. Hope­fully, the (Rock­ies) fans come out and vote. If they don’t, I have a nice va­ca­tion plan with the fam­ily.”

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