Trade costs Samardzija chance for All-Star outing
NEW YORK – The trade that put Jeff Samardzija on a postseason contender cost him a chance to pitch in his first All-Star game.
A day after Samardzija was dealt from the Chicago Cubs to Oakland, a big league-high six Athletics were picked Sunday for the game at Target Field in Minnesota July 15.
That doesn’t include Samardzija, selected as a National League All-Star. Major League Baseball said he is ineligible to play because of the league switch.
Pittsburgh’s Tony Watson and Josh Harrison won’t have similar problems in their first All-Star appearances.
Watson, a lefty reliever, and Harrison, a ultility player, were both mangager’s picks for the National League, joining center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who will start after leading all NL outfielders in votes.
Samardzija won his American League debut Sunday when he allowed one run in seven innings for a 4-2 victory over Toronto. He will be introduced with the NL players before the All-Star game; still to be decided is whether he wears a Cubs or A’s uniform – or a generic NL jersey.
“I won’t get to pitch, which is a bummer, but that’s all right,” Samardzija said. “I’ll just go through whatever ceremonies they have and just jump over to the AL dugout with an NL jersey on and have some fun with the six other dudes we have over there, which is exciting.”
Oakland, with the best record in the majors, has its most All-Stars since 1975: left-handers Sean Doolittle and Scott Kazmir; catcher Derek Norris; first baseman Brandon Moss; third baseman Josh Donaldson; and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
“It’s really cool,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We were hoping for something like this.”
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, playing his 20th and final season, was chosen for his 14th All-Star team and will start for the ninth time. He gets reunited with Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano, his former double-play partner in New York.
Mariano Rivera, the retiring Yankees reliever, was the center of attention at last year’s All-Star game when the Mets hosted in Citi Field. Jeter could be in the spotlight this year.
“All-Star game was in New York last year. It’s a little bit different,” Jeter said. “I don’t go into it with any expectations. Just trying to enjoy myself and have fun with whoever is here.”
Among the big names bypassed entirely were slugger David Ortiz and closer Koji Uehara from World Series champion Boston, San Francisco catcher Buster Posey, and Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett.
Also elected by fans to start for the AL were Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Donaldson, and outfielders Jose Bautista of Toronto, Adam Jones of Baltimore and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.
Baltimore’s Matt Wieters, sidelined by season-ending elbow surgery on June 17, was elected to start at catcher and will be replaced by Kansas City’s Salvador Perez.
Orioles bopper Nelson Cruz, tied for the major league home run lead with 27, was voted in by fans at designated hitter after serving a 50-game suspension last year for violating baseball’s drug agreement.
The big year could lead to a large contract for Cruz, who left Texas for an $8 million, one-year deal with Baltimore.
“It’s always a blessing when you make the All-Star game,” Cruz said. “I’m happy because I know I made the right decision.”
Elected to the NL starting lineup were Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley, Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramirez and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina along with outfielders Carlos Gomez of Milwaukee, McCutchen and Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, a pair of rookies off to superlative starts, were among 26 first-time All-Stars and 24 foreign-born players.
Tanaka and setup man Dellin Betances are the first Yankees rookie pitchers to be picked as All-Stars since Spec Shea in 1947.
Milwaukee closer Francisco Rodriguez made his fifth All-Star team, his first since 2009.
Bautista, at 5.68 million, received the most votes for the second time in four years. Tulowitzki topped the NL at 5.35 million.
Other players omitted despite strong credentials were Cincinnati pitcher Alfredo Simon, Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager and San Diego closer Huston Street, who had converted 23 consecutive save chances before allowing a tying home run in the ninth Saturday.
Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun and Toronto outfielder Melky Cabrera, who like Cruz served lengthy drug-related suspensions, also were left out.
The candidates in online voting for the final AL spot are all pitchers: Houston’s Dallas Keuchel, Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, Los Angeles’ Garrett Richards, Detroit’s Rick Porcello and Chicago’s Chris Sale.
Vying for the NL spot are Miami third baseman Casey McGehee, Colorado first baseman Justin Morneau, Washington third baseman Anthony Rendon, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Atlanta outfielder Justin Upton.
A midseason trade created a strange situation in 1998, too.