This year’s All-Star game could be a little reminiscent to last year when the retiring New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera was the center of attention.
The spotlight this time around will be on Yankee shortstop, Derek Jeter, who is playing in his 20th and final season.
“The All-Star game was in New York last year. It’s a little but different,” said Jeter, who was selected for his 14th All-Star team, ninth as a starter. “I don’t go into it with any expectations. Just trying to enjoy myself and have fun with whomever is here.”
Jeter will be reunited with Seattle second baseman Robinson Canó, his former double-player partner in New York.
The All-Star starting lineup is selected by fans, and this year it has a good mix of players.
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 John Donaldson; and outfield Yoenis Céspedes.
“It’s really cool,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We were hoping for something like this.”
Elected by fans to start for the American League were Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Donaldson, and outfielders José Bautista of Toronto, Adam Jones of Baltimore and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.
Bautista, at 5.68 million, received the most votes for the second time in four years.
Orioles bopper Nelson Cruz, tied for the major league home run lead with 27, was voted in by fans at designated hitter after having served 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 National League starting lineup were Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley, Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramírez and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina along with outfielders Carlos Gómez of Milwaukee, Andrew McCutchen of Pittsburgh and Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and Chicago White Sox first baseman José 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.
Houston Astros second baseman Jose Alture, who currently leads the American League in hits (112), batting average (.337) and stolen bases (38) was selected to the team as a reserve. This is the second All-Star team for the 34-year-old, who was named a ‘National League All-Star’ in 2012.
“It feels really good,” he said. “One thing I have to say is it wouldn’t happen without my teammates and my coaching staff. I don’t want to mention all those names, but I want to thank all the guys that are in the room. They’re doing everything for me and trying to support me.”
Surprise selections included Pittsburgh utility-man Josh Harrison and left-hander Tony Watson, and St. Louis reliever Pat Neshek, who is from Minnesota and began his career with the hometown Twins.
"I shook head my head for a while. I couldn't believe it," Neshek said, his voice cracking with emotion. "It's awesome to be rewarded like that and to get the chance to play against the best."
Milwaukee closer Francisco Rodríguez made his fifth All-Star team, his first since 2009.
Among the big names bypassed entirely were slugger David Ortiz and close Koji Uehara from World Series champion Boston, San Francisco catcher Buster Posey, and Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett.
“I had a chance to talk with David, and he felt the four days of rest might be more advantageous to him,” said Boston skipper John Farrell, the AL manager. “He was a pro about it. He spoke his mind and had a lot of input in the decisions.”
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 served lengthy drug-related suspensions, also were left out. Jeff Samardzija was ineligible to play because he changed leagues in a trade from the Chicago Cubs to Oakland.
"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."
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 last 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.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.