The Mariners now have three selections for the All-Star Game in Minneapolis, thanks to the timing of Edwin Encarnacion’s injury.
Encarnacion’s injury freed up a spot on the American League All-Star roster, and Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager was named as his replacement on Monday, joining teamates Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez at the midsummer classic.
Encarnacion was selected as a reserve to the AL squad after hitting a whopping 26 home runs with 70 RBI this season, but the Blue Jays first baseman was placed on the disabled list Monday with a right quadriceps strain.
The slugger is expected to be sidelined up to a month due with the injury.
Seager is hitting .274 with 13 home runs, 59 RBI and 21 doubles this year.
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 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 RBI and an .824 on-base plus slugging percentage. He beat out Houston’s Jose Altuve in the vote.
“He’s been great,” manager Lloyd McClendon said Sunday 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 a AL best 2.11 earned-run average in 19 starts. He’s thrown 136 1/3 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 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.’”
On Sunday, McClendon voiced his hope that Seager and closer Fernando Rodney will be added to the team.
“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.”
After Seager’s addition on Monday, there’s still a good chance that Rodney will be added to the roster because of injuries and pitchers like Tanaka, who won’t be available.
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 Sunday.