MLB ALL-STAR GAME
Mike Trout, Aaron Judge and Mookie Betts form a dream outfield in the American League. Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer make up a not-so-gracious welcome committee for the NL.
Power in the center of power. A capital-sized All Star Game.
Baseball unveiled the rosters for its midsummer showcase Sunday night, featuring an imposing American League lineup and Harper starting at his home ballpark in Washington.
Reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve was one of five All Stars from the World Series champion Houston Astros, matching the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians for most in themajors. The New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves each had four, including rookie Gleyber Torres from the Bronx Bombers and fellow second baseman Ozzie Albies from the surprising Braves.
"It's fun. You're playing but you're looking around because you're playing with all those big boys out there," said Altuve, who made the AL team for the sixth time.
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Torres is on the disabled list with a hip injury and unlikely to participate. But while he and Albies are just 21 years old, the list of 25 first-time All-Stars also includes thirty-something surprises like Boston first baseman Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers slugger Shin-Soo Chooand Atlanta outfielder Nick Markakis.
"It's something that I didn't know it would ever be quite possible," Moreland said. "I'm definitely excited about the opportunity and appreciative of having that opportunity." Trout is working on perhaps the best season of his stellar career with the Los Angeles Angels. Judge has 25 homers and 58 RBIs for the Yankees, and Betts is batting .342 with 22 homers for the major league leading Red Sox.
But that's just the beginning for the AL. Altuve led the fan balloting with 4.8 million votes. Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado will make the short trip down to D.C. for the July 17 game with speculation increasing about his future ahead of the trade deadline.
Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez, Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez and Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos round out the AL's starting lineup.
"The best part is being with all the guys. You're on the biggest stage with the best," said Trout, who was selected for the seventh straight year — tying Boston ace Chris Sale for longest active streak.
Harper was voted a starter for the fourth consecutive year. The slugger, who is eligible for free agency after this season, is batting just .218 for disappointing Washington but has 21 homers and 50 RBIs.
He was joined by ace right-hander Max Scherzer and reliever Sean Doolittle from the Nationals. Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, could get the start in his home ballpark.
Nationals shortstop Trea Turner could join Scherzer and Co. if he wins the online vote for the 32nd and final NL roster spot. Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar, Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter and Dodgers infielder Max Muncy also are in the mix.