Johnny Cueto’s face lit up Tuesday when he was asked about the possibility of throwing to Buster Posey at the All-Star Game next week.
“He’s my favorite catcher,” the Giants right-hander said through interpreter Geoff Head. “I won’t need to teach my tricks to some other catcher.”
The battery arrangements are still to be made, but Cueto and Posey will represent the Giants on the National League All-Star team, it was announced Tuesday, along with left-hander Madison Bumgarner.
Posey was elected the N.L.’s starting catcher in fan voting, while Bumgarner and Cueto made the team via player balloting. First baseman Brandon Belt still has a chance to make the squad as one of five “final vote” candidates for the last roster spot, which will be determined by fan voting that runs through Friday afternoon.
It’s the sixth consecutive year the Giants have had at least three players named to the All-Star team. This is the fourth selection for Bumgarner and Posey and the second for Cueto, who made the team in 2014 with the Cincinnati Reds.
N.L. manager Terry Collins of the New York Mets recently mentioned Bumgarner and Cueto as candidates to start next Tuesday’s game in San Diego. Bumgarner might not be eligible if, as expected, he pitches Sunday for the Giants. Cueto, who is tied for the N.L. lead with 12 wins, is an option along with the Chicago Cubs’ Jake Arrieta and the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he would have no hesitation about Cueto starting the game – an assignment that usually entails pitching two innings – despite Cueto’s first-half workload.
“I think it’d be an honor,” Bochy said. “I would never not want one of my players to be the starting All-Star pitcher. What a great honor that is. And to go two innings would be fine.”
Cueto leads N.L. pitchers this season with 122 1/3 innings and owns a 2.57 ERA. The Giants, who signed Cueto to a six-year, $130 million deal last offseason, are 15-2 in his starts. Bumgarner, an All-Star for the fourth consecutive season, is 9-4 and ranks second in the league with a 2.20 ERA and fourth in innings (114 2/3 ), strikeouts (126) and WHIP (1.02).
Posey won the fan voting with a late surge past the St. Louis Cardinals’ Yadier Molina. Following a slow start to the season, Posey has been hot lately, batting .403 over 20 games entering Tuesday and raising his average 40 points in that span to .291. He has 10 homers and 40 RBIs.
The Giants had hopes for two other position players, Belt and shortstop Brandon Crawford, but both were edged out of the voting. Addison Russell of the Cubs was chosen by fans to start at shortstop, while Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Corey Seager won the player vote. Crawford did not make the roster despite leading all major-league shortstops entering Tuesday with 53 RBIs and, according to Fangraphs, ranking sixth among all N.L. players in wins above replacement (Seager ranks second).
“Crawford is always an All-Star candidate,” Bochy said. “Certainly for us, it’s always our hope that he’s there. But you saw the voting.”
Fans elected an all-Cubs starting infield, with Anthony Rizzo at first base. Players voted in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt, and Wil Myers was named the Padres’ lone All-Star representative, leaving no spot for Belt, who ranks 12th in the league with a .908 OPS.
Belt said he still felt “honored” to be one of the “final vote” candidates with Colorado Rockies rookie Trevor Story, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Starling Marte and the Diamondbacks’ Jake Lamb.
“The other guys are very good,” Belt said. “It’s going to be a tough competition. But I have a lot of faith in our fans. They know how to vote very well. … Hopefully, I can sneak in there.”
For the A’s, catcher Stephen Vogt will be part of the American League team for the second consecutive year. Vogt, who was batting .267 with six home runs and 24 RBIs entering Tuesday, was named to the team by A.L. manager Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals.
Vogt told reporters in Minneapolis on Tuesday he was “blown away” by his selection and hopes the A’s have another representative, reliever Ryan Dull, who has stranded all 36 of his inherited runners this season. Dull could be named a replacement if another A.L. pitcher is scratched because of injury.
- When: July 12, 5 p.m.
- Where: Petco Park, San Diego
- TV/radio: Ch. 40, 1320
- Madison Bumgarner, pitcher
- Johnny Cueto, pitcher
- Buster Posey, catcher
- Stephen Vogt, catcher