CHICAGO – As expected, Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano were announced as members of the American League All-Star team Sunday afternoon.
Felix has been named to the team for the fifth time in his career (interestingly enough he was not an All-Star in his Cy Young season), and Cano received the honor for the sixth time.
Cano was voted in as a starter by the fans, pulling down the most votes of any American League second baseman. This has added significance for him seeing that this is his first year with a new team.
"It is still special," he said at his locker in the visiting clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field. "It is a chance to tell all the fans, they vote for myself to be a starter in the All-Star Game, something that I was going to be excited for, something I was going to have in my heart. To see them voting, now I am on a new team, and they have been watching and appreciating what I am doing."
For Felix, who was one of the players' choice picks, heading to the All-Star game during the break has become routine. He once again will take his family and looks forward to the experience.
"I am always excited to be a part of the All-Star game. It's always fun," he said.
Felix – who leads all A.L. starters in innings, ERA, Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) and wins above replacement (WAR) – has a good chance to get the nod from manager John Farrell of the Red Sox to start the game. Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon sees this, or any innings pitched Tuesday in Minneapolis, as a good thing for Felix.
"It's probably good for him. It doesn't give him X amount of days off. Keeps him sharp a little bit," he said.
It is not out of the question that Felix and Cano could have some more company when they head to Minneapolis Sunday evening. Injuries or pitchers requiring rest could open doors for Kyle Seager, who is second in WAR among third basemen in the American League, and/or closer Fernando Rodney. McClendon sees them both as deserving, and there are always changes to the roster between the announcement and game.
"They have done a damn good job," McClendon said. "My closer is leading the league in saves. Our third baseman's numbers is as good as any third baseman in the league. They are both deserving. It's a tough process. Somebody has to get left off. Hopefully it's not them."
McClendon seemed to indicate that their chances are decent.
"There's some other things going on and hopefully we will get a couple more guys in there," he said. "We will see what happens."