CHICAGO – The Mariners have at least two selections to the American League All-Star team, but there is a good possibility that they will have at least one more player heading to the midsummer classic in Minneapolis.
As expected, second baseman Robinson Cano and pitcher Felix Hernandez were voted onto the team.
“It was well-deserved,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “It was a nice honor. There’s some other things going on and hopefully we get a couple more guys there too. We’ll see what happens.”
Cano was selected by fan vote to be the starting second baseman for the fifth straight season. This will be his sixth All-Star Game.
“It’s still special,” he said. “It was something I was going to be excited for, something I was going to have in my heart. You don’t know now that I’m on a new team. But they’ve been watching and appreciating what I’m doing here.”
Cano has been consistently in the top five in batting average in the American League for the past few months. He’s hitting .320 with 20 doubles, six homers, 51 RBIs and an .824 on-base plus slugging percentage. He beat out Houston’s Jose Altuve in the vote.
“He’s been great,” McClendon said. “What he’s done offensively, defensively and from a preparation standpoint of helping some young players along, I think it’s been huge. He’s a great player that makes other players around him better. “
Hernandez was selected to the team by the players’ vote. It will be his fifth All-Star appearance, tying him with Randy Johnson for most by a pitcher in club history.
“I’m happy,” he said. “To be part of the All-Star Game is always exciting, you never forget about that. It’s always fun.
Hernandez is 10-2 with an American League-best 2.11 ERA in 19 starts. He’s thrown 1361/3 innings and struck out 145 batters with just 23 walks. He was a lock to make the team. Now the question is whether Red Sox manager John Farrell will choose him to start.
“There’s a lot of guys deserving of that,” McClendon said.
One of the deserving pitchers – Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees – is scheduled to pitch next Sunday, making him ineligible to start.
Does Hernandez want to start?
“That’s not up to me,” he said. “But if they ask me, I’ll say yes.”
The couple guys that McClendon hopes will be added to the team are third baseman Kyle Seager and closer Fernando Rodney. They were left off the A.L. roster, but that doesn’t mean their All-Star candidacy is done.
“They’ve done a damn good job,” McClendon said. “My closer leads the league in saves and my third baseman’s numbers are as good as any third baseman in the league. They are both deserving. This is a tough process. Somebody has to be left off. Hopefully it’s not them.”
There’s a good chance that both will be added to the roster because of injuries and the unavailability of pitchers such as Tanaka.
Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion was injured on Saturday night in Oakland and will miss the All-Star Game, which could open up a spot for Seager.
Josh Donaldson was voted in as the starting third baseman. Seager certainly deserves consideration. He’s hitting .274 with 21 doubles, 13 homers, 59 RBIs and an .830 OPS.
“It’s not something I can control,” Seager said. “The good thing is that we are playing good baseball here and that takes up all of your thoughts.”
Rodney leads the league in saves with 25 and has a 2.10 ERA. He’s struck out 39 batters in 341/3 innings pitched.
“I’d be happy if we got all four,” Hernandez said.