KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The A's entered Saturday with the second-most victories in the American League, but you'd hardly know it from the All-Star selection process.
Only starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, 11-3 with a 2.78 ERA, was named to the A.L. roster for the July 16 game at Citi Field in New York. Third baseman Josh Donaldson, the team's top hitter at .317 with 15 homers and 57 RBIs, was skipped. So were closer Grant Balfour, who has converted all 22 of his save opportunities with a 1.82 ERA, and shortstop Jed Lowrie, who has slipped to .296 with five homers and 34 RBIs.
Colon was baffled as to why he will be going to New York alone.
"I have no words to explain it," Colon said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "I think Donaldson and Balfour should be part of it, too."
Manager Bob Melvin, whose team is the defending A.L. West champion and entered Saturday leading the division, was plainly unhappy to see his 51-win ballclub represented by just one player.
"We had performances suggesting we had more than one guy," Melvin said. "I'm very happy about Bartolo. To make the All-Star team at age 40 is pretty incredible."
Almost as incredible as the A's having no one else on the roster.
Balfour, who has gone 14 months without a blown save, tried to take it in stride, but he struggled.
"I'm a little disappointed," he said. "I guess perfect isn't good enough."
Donaldson, whom most national baseball writers picked to make the team, was more philosophical, looking at how loaded third base is in the A.L. with Miguel Cabrera in Detroit and Manny Machado in Baltimore.
"I wasn't expecting it," Donaldson said. "Is third base the toughest position? People say it is. That being said, I don't play against the other guys. I play against (other teams)."
Donaldson isn't even one of the five names on the final ballot on which fans can add one more deserving player.
Colon had been named to an All-Star team twice before this year, but he said this selection felt the most satisfying.
Back with the A's after a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, he's 11-3 with a 2.78 ERA.
"I believe yes (it is the most special)," Colon said. "At my age right now, no one can think I have a chance to go to the All-Star Game. And that is what has happened."
Many of Colon's teammates were pulling for him to make it one last time. Colon was an All-Star in 1998 in his first full year in the big leagues with the Cleveland Indians. The honor came again in 2005, a season in which he would win the A.L. Cy Young Award with the Los Angeles Angels.
"I'm more happy for Bartolo making it," Donaldson said. "Look what he's done at age 40."
Colon sat out the first five games this season, the residue from his suspension that began last August.
Once he returned, April became his friend as he went 3-0 for the month and the A's won all five of his starts. He lost his first two starts in May, then reeled off eight consecutive wins to put himself in All-Star position.
He said that as his numbers kept improving, he didn't spend much time thinking about the possibility of returning to the All-Star Game.
"I'm always thinking about the way I have to pitch each game," he said.