Five Cubs elected to start in All-Star Game


By Ronald Blum - AP Baseball Writer



By Ronald Blum

AP Baseball Writer

NEW YORK — The Chicago Cubs became the first team since the 1976 Cincinnati Reds’ Big Red Machine to have five players voted as All-Star Game starters when their entire infield earned the honor Tuesday along with center fielder Dexter Fowler.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo, second baseman Ben Zobrist, shortstop Addison Russell and third baseman Kris Bryant also were elected. The only other team to start four infielders was the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals.

Rizzo led NL players with 3.2 million votes, and Zobrist won the closest race by finishing 88 votes ahead of Washington’s Daniel Murphy. Seven Cubs were picked in all, with Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester selected for the National League pitching staff. Fowler hopes to recover from a hamstring strain that has sidelined him since June 18.

The July 12 game at San Diego’s Petco Park will feature 11 first-time starters, the most since 2005. In a sign of the sport’s generational change, 12 of the 17 elected starters are 26 or younger.

Left fielder/first baseman Adam Duvall, 27, is the lone representative for the Cincinnati Reds.

Boston has six All-Stars, including four starters. Designated hitter David Ortiz, who is retiring at the end of the season, became a 10-time All-Star and is joined by a trio of first-timers: shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielders Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts. Knuckleballer Steven Wright and closer Craig Kimbrel were selected for the pitching staff.

San Francisco catcher Buster Posey was elected along with New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Washington outfielder Bryce Harper.

In the AL, Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez and first baseman Eric Hosmer were voted to the starting lineup along with Houston second baseman Jose Altuve, Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado and Los Angeles outfielder Mike Trout. Perez led all players with nearly 4.97 million votes.

Arrieta is among five first-time All-Stars on the NL pitching staff, joined by New York’s Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen and Miami’s A.J. Ramos. Other NL pitchers include Washington’s Stephen Strasburg, the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez and Atlanta’s Julio Teheran. Washington’s Max Scherzer was bypassed.

Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances were picked for the AL bullpen from the New York Yankees’ Run BMC trio but Aroldis Chapman was left off after missing the first 29 games of the season while serving a domestic violence suspension.

Miller and Wright are among seven first-time All-Stars on the AL pitching staff, joined by Tampa Bay’s Alex Colome, Toronto’s Marco Estrada, Baltimore’s Brad Brach, Houston’s Marco Estrada and Cleveland’s Danny Salazar. Other AL pitchers include Chicago’s Chris Sale and Texas’ Cole Hamels.

Petco Park is the second of four straight NL ballparks to host the All-Stars, following Cincinnati last year and ahead of Miami in 2017 and Washington in 2018. Because of that, the AL will be the home team, wear white uniforms and use the Padres clubhouse. Wil Myers was the only Padres player picked.

St. Louis’ 1963 infield included first baseman Bill White, second baseman Julian Javier, third baseman Ken Boyer and shortstop Dick Groat. The 1976 Reds’ starters were catcher Johnny Bench, second baseman Joe Morgan, shortstop Dave Concepcion, third baseman Pete Rose and outfielder George Foster.

By Ronald Blum

AP Baseball Writer

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