Arenado leads four Rockies all-star picks
Blackmon also will start; LeMahieu, Holland join team
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.”