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Indians’ Carlos Santana will start in host All-Star Game

By PAUL HOYNES • Updated Jun 27, 2019 at 8:12 PM

CLEVELAND — Carlos Santana’s homecoming just keeps getting better.

On Thursday evening it was announced that Santana will be the AL’s starting first baseman after winning a final runoff with Minnesota’s C.J. Cron and New York’s Luke Voit. It is Santana’s first All-Star Game.

“I’m excited to represent Cleveland alongside the best in Major League Baseball,” said Santana. “To be able to start in my first career All-Star Game, and to do it at home in front of our fans, means everything to me.”

Santana ran away with the AL first base vote, claiming 49.2 percent of the vote ahead of Voit (25.8 percent) and Cron (25 percent). Entering the day, he had the best 2019 numbers among AL first baseman finalists leading in average (.290) home runs (18), on-base pct. (.411), slugging pct. (.541) and OPS (.951).

The native of the Dominican Republic finished second in the Primary Election process, receiving 1,180,719 votes. He finished behind New York-AL’s Luke Voit (1,205,706 votes) and ahead of Minnesota’s C.J. Cron (1,045,120 votes).

When the Indians brought Santana back to Cleveland in December after a year’s hiatus with the Phillies, he said, “I’m happy, happy, happy.” He spent his first eight years in the big leagues with the Indians and considers it his home.

He left at the end of the 2017 season to sign a three-year $60 million free-agent deal with the Phillies. At the end of last year, the Phillies traded him to Seattle. On Dec. 13, the Mariners traded him back to the Indians for Edwin Encarnacion.

Santana has always hit for power and drawn a lot of walks, but in spring training he changed his swing and started using the whole field. The change has made him a much more dangerous hitter and has added point to his batting average. Teams can no longer stop him with defensive shifts.

Now, he will be appearing on his first All-Star Game roster over his 10-year MLB career. He will be the first Cleveland Indians first baseman to start an All-Star Game since Hall of Famer Jim Thome in 1999.

The Tribe has now boasted an American League starter in three straight All-Star Games as Jose Ramirez got the nod at third base in 2017 and 2018.

Santana joins David Justice in 1997, Al Rosen and Bobby Avila in 1954, and Joe Vosmik in 1935 as members of the Tribe elected to start All-Star Games in Cleveland.

Other American League starters include the Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu at second base, Minnesota’s Jorge Polanco at shortstop, Houston’s Alex Bregman at third base, New York’s Gary Sanchez at catcher and the Rangers’ Hunter Pence as the Designated Hitter. The starting outfield will consist of the Angels’ Mike Trout, the Astros’ George Springer and his teammate, Michael Brantley — who will officially make his return to Cleveland after leaving as a free agent in the winter following 10 seasons for the Indians.

Starting for the National League includes Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Arizona second baseman Ketel Marte, Chicago shortstop Javier Baez, the Rockies Nolan Arenado at third base, along with outfielders Christian Yelich (Milwaukee), Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta) and Cody Bellinger (Los Angeles).

 

Triple-A Clippers get four All-Stars

Four members of the Class AAA Columbus Clippers are heading to El Paso, Texas as members of the International League All-Star Team on July 10.

Outfielder Brandon Barnes, catcher Eric Haase and pitchers Asher Wojciechowski and Josh Smith will represent the International League against All-Stars from the Pacific Coast League in the 32nd Triple-A version of the Midsummer Classic at Southwest University Park, home of the PCL’s El Paso Chihuahuas.

First baseman Bobby Bradley, who was promoted to Cleveland on Saturday, was extended an invitation prior to joining the Indians. Bradley’s 24 home runs are tied with Reno’s Kevin Cron for the most in all of Class AAA, but the 23-year-old slugger will not be around for the game, nor will he compete in the Triple-A home run derby.

Barnes and Haase are each appearing on the IL squad for the second time. Rosters for the game are comprised of 13 players selected by a combination of managers, media and fans as well as 20 additional players selected by the International and Pacific Coast offices.

Barnes and Wojciechowski were voted into the game while Haase and Smith were selected by the league. Each of the IL’s fourteen clubs will be represented in the showcase, including players from six different countries.

Columbus leads the IL’s West Division with a 47-30 record. Barnes is hitting .286 with 15 home runs and 53 RBI and an .896 OPS. Haase has 18 home runs, 36 RBI and is batting .256 with a .927 OPS.

Wojciechowski is 8-2 in 15 starts for the Clippers. His 3.61 ERA in 84 2/3 innings is second in the International League. Smith, who joined the Indians in May, has made six appearances with the big league club this season in two stints on the roster. With the Clippers, he is 6-1 with five saves in 22 appearances with a 1.74 ERA.

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