The Baltimore Orioles are riding high, leading the American League East, and leading all major league teams with three players who were elected to this year’s All-Star Game


Nelson Cruz, a designated hitter who began this week tied for the major league lead in home runs with 27, was voted in as a starter along with catcher Matt Wieters and center fielder Adam Jones. Wieters will not play because he is out for the season following Tommy John surgery.

Also starting for the AL will be Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who led all vote-getters with 5.6 million; outfielder Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels; first baseman Miguel Cabrera of Detroit; Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano; third baseman Josh Donaldson of the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

Jeter will be making his 14th and final All-Star appearance.

“I don’t go in with any expectations,” Jeter said. “Just trying to enjoy myself and have fun with whoever is here.”

Oakland tops all major league clubs with six total All-Stars. Along with Donaldson, the A’s also will be represented by catcher Derek Norris, first baseman Brandon Moss, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and pitchers Scott Kazmir and Sean Doolittle.

New A’s pitcher Jeff Samardzija, acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs, was voted to the National League roster, but is ineligible to play because of the deal.

Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki had the most votes among NL players with 5.3 million. The Milwaukee Brewers landed two players on the squad in third baseman Aramis Ramirez and outfielder Carlos Gomez.

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, making his sixth All-Star appearance, will be joined by first-time starters and outfielders Andrew McCutchen of Pittsburgh and Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley also were elected to the NL team.

Starting pitchers for the AL are: Yu Darvish (Texas), Max Scherzer (Detroit), Felix Hernandez (Seattle), Masahiro Tanaka (New York), Jon Lester (Boston), David Price (Tampa Bay), Scott Kazmir (Oakland) and Mark Buehrle (Toronto).

The NL’s starting pitchers are: Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles), Zack Greinke (Los Angeles), Johnny Cueto (Cincinnati), Madison Bumganer (San Francisco), Adam Wainwright (St. Louis ), Tyson Ross (San Diego), Jordan Zimmerman (Washington) and Julio Teheran (Atlanta).

The All-Star Game will be played at Minnesota’s Target Field on July 15.

Samardzija wins A’s debut: Jeff Samardzija wanted to make a good first impression in his first start with the Oakland A’s since he was acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs. He accomplished his goal by winning his debut with the team 4-2 over Toronto on Sunday.

“First impressions are always important,” Samardzija said.

Samardzija (3-7, 2.74 ERA overall this season) allowed four hits and one run with five strikeouts and one walk as the A’s swept the Blue Jays in four straight games in Oakland.

“They didn’t need me here,” Samardzija said of his new team. “I don’t want to come in and change anything and change the atmosphere. I just want to come in and add and do my part.”

Samardzija retired 13 of 14 batters at one point.

“He was excited as you could be,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It was great to get him off to a good start like that.”

StatsWatch: Here are the results of the last 10 All-Star games:

  • 2013, Citi Field, New York, AL 3-0
  • 2012, Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, NL 8-0
  • 2011, Chase Field, Phoenix, NL 5-1
  • 2010, Angel Stadium, Anaheim, NL 3-1
  • 2009, Busch Stadium, St. Louis, AL 4-3
  • 2008, Yankee Stadium, New York, AL 4-3
  • 2007, AT&T Park, San Francisco, AL 5-4
  • 2006, PNC Park, Pittsburgh, AL 3-2
  • 2005, Comerica Park, Detroit, AL 7-5
  • 2004, Minute Maid Park, Houston, AL 9-4

Diamond Notes: Blue Jays’ slugger Edwin Encarnacion will be out for at least two weeks with a right quad strain. He was injured in the first inning of Saturday’s loss at Oakland…The New York Yankees acquired veteran right-handed pitcher Brandon McCarthy from Arizona. McCarthy was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA this season with the Diamondbacks, who get left-hander Vidal Nuno. Nuno was 2-5 with a 5.42 ERA with the Yankees…Alfonso Soriano has been designated for assignment by the Yankees. Soriano hit just .221 with six homers and 23 RBIs this season. Soriano is in the final year of his eight-year, $138 million contract, of which $13 million is being paid by the Chicago Cubs, his former team.

Copyright © 2014  Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.

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