Rookies Bryant, Pederson make All-Star Game, but A-Rod snubbed
Less than three months after making his major-league debut, Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant is an All-Star, one of two rookies selected along with Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson.
But there was no room on the roster for Alex Rodriguez, enjoying a renaissance in his return to the New York Yankees following a season-long drug suspension.
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal also was a first-time selection Monday for the July 14 game (FOX, 7:30 p.m. ET) in Cincinnati. Grandal became the third All-Star this year who served a drug-related suspension following MLB's investigation of the Biogenesis of America clinic. Seattle slugger Nelson Cruz and St. Louis shortstop Jhonny Peralta were elected by fans to start.
Albert Pujols of the Angels will start at first base for the AL in place of Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who injured a calf muscle Friday. Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen will start in the NL outfield instead of Miami's Giancarlo Stanton, who broke his hand on June 26.
The 23-year-old Bryant made his big-league debut April 17 and began Monday with a .279 average, 12 homers and 49 RBI.
"Obviously, I've been at some All-Star Games, but I don't think anything can compare to making the major-league All-Star team," he said. "It is kind of weird right now. We have a game in an hour, so I'm trying not to get too excited and whatnot, but obviously it's pretty cool."
He's open to participating in the Home Run Derby.
"It's all happened so quick. I've just been having so much fun with this, my baseball career," Bryant said. "Right now, it's a pretty special feeling for me."
Pederson, who also expects to be in the derby, had 20 homers but was hitting just .234. He was especially pleased fellow players elected him.
"They respect the way I play the game," he said.
A record six Royals were picked for the game, with players electing pitcher Wade Davis and AL manager Ned Yost of Kansas City selecting reliever Kelvin Herrera. They join Royals outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon, catcher Salvador Perez and shortstop Alcides Escobar, who were elected on Sunday as starters.
"The one thing that Kelvin did that a lot of these guys didn't do was pitch in Game 7 of the World Series last year," Yost said. "That was kind of the deciding factor for me."
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is among the five players on the AL fan ballot for the 34th and final roster spot. Rodriguez is not.
The three-time MVP, who turns 40 on July 27, has 16 home runs and 47 RBI for the Yankees after missing last year because of a drug suspension.
"We talked a lot about Alex Rodriguez," Yost said. "I just felt very strongly if we could get another infielder or another outfielder out of that five-man vote, it would help us."
The league that wins the All-Star Game gets home-field advantage in the World Series.
Rodriguez is hitting .284 during a season in which he passed Willie Mays for fourth on the career home run list and topped 3,000 hits. But Texas' Prince Fielder, who was elected by players, joined Cruz as the only DHs on the AL roster.
"As I've said all season, my No. 1 goal is helping the Yankees win a championship. I'm excited that we're in a good position to get there," Rodriguez said in a statement. "Of course, it would have been an honor to represent the American League next week, but I'll have fun cheering on the guys who were put on the team and watching them protect home field."
Yankees reliever Dellin Betances was elected by players, and first baseman Mark Teixeira was picked to fill Cabrera's roster spot. But this will be the first All-Star Game with no Yankees starters since 1999.
St. Louis tops the NL with five players. Peralta was elected to start along with outfielder Matt Holliday, who isn't sure when he'll be activated from the disabled list. Catcher Yadier Molina and reliever Trevor Rosenthal were elected by players, and NL manager Bruce Bochy of San Francisco picked pitcher Michael Wacha.
Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman was elected by players and is the second member of the hometown Reds on the NL roster. Third baseman Todd Frazier was elected to start.
Pittsburgh pitcher A.J. Burnett, in his 17th and what he says will be his final season, became an All-Star for the first time. At 38, he's the oldest player headed to the game.
"It's cool," Burnett said. "We were hoping it would happen but like a lot of things in baseball it was out of our control."
Washington outfielder Bryce Harper, a three-time All-Star at age 22, is the youngest. Harper said Monday he won't participate in the Home Run Derby because his father isn't available to pitch to him following shoulder surgery.
There are 16 All-Stars born outside the 50 states, including six Venezuelans, five Dominicans, three Cubans, one Canadian and one Puerto Rican.
AL starting pitchers include Seattle's Felix Hernandez, Detroit's David Price, Chicago's Chris Sale, Houston's Dallas Keuchel, Oakland's Sonny Gray and Tampa Bay's Chris Archer. Among the NL starting pitchers are Washington's Max Scherzer, San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner, the Dodgers' Zack Greinke, the Mets' Jacob deGrom, Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole and Atlanta's Shelby Miller.
"New team. New league. It's just getting a look at everybody," said Scherzer, who left Detroit to sign a $210 million deal with the Nationals. "Everybody's getting their first look at me and the things I've done. I'm sure they'll make adjustments the rest of the year. That's why it's going to be a difficult challenge for me."
Joining Moustakas on the ballot for the AL's final spot are Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts, Detroit outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier and Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner. The NL ballot includes pitchers Johnny Cueto of Cincinnati, Jeurys Familia of the Mets, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals along with Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Voting runs until Friday afternoon.