The MLB All-Star votes have been tallied, and the Kansas City Royals dominance isn’t as severe as feared.
With the likes of Omar Infante leading the way for starter contention at second base coming into the fans’ final votes, it turns out that “only” four Royals (Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Alcides Escobar, and Salvador Perez) will have their day as starters for the American League squad. The team is rounded out by Nelson Cruz, Mike Trout, Josh Donaldson, Jose Altuve, and Miguel Cabrera, who will be replaced after going on the DL with a calf injury.
Meanwhile, the National League squad is led by Bryce Harper, who finished with nearly 14 million votes. The rest of the team includes Buster Posey, Paul Goldschmidt, Dee Gordon, Todd Frazier, Jhonny Peralta, Giancarlo Stanton, and Matt Holliday. Stanton will miss the game due to injury, and Holliday is also highly questionable.
For all the media hoopla in recent weeks regarding the possibility of a nearly all Royals AL squad, it looks like the fans fared relatively well in their voting. Notable omissions include Jason Kipnis (over Altuve), Stephen Vogt (over Perez), Jose Bautista (over Gordon), and several choices would be better than Holliday, who has played only 52 games. Still, these final results are far from tragic, and should appease fans who care about the game that decides homefield advantage in the World Series.
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Santana Dominates in Return
After signing for four years, $55 million in the offseason, Ervin Santana put the Twins and fantasy owners in a terrible position when it was announced late in spring training that he’d be facing an 80-game suspension for PEDs. If it’s any consolation, he looked ready to pitch during his season debut on Sunday.
Santana dominated the Royals over eight innings, allowing two runs on three hits, three walks, and fanning eight batters. He needed only 93 pitches to get through eight innings before the Twins bullpen blew the game.
Regardless, it’s a good sign that Santana looked good out of the gate following a rehab assignment. The veteran right-hander averaged better than 94 mph on his fastball, showing a fresh arm for a pitcher who usually averages closer to 92 mph. As usual, he threw his four-seam fastball and slider almost exclusively.
His return could be a key for a Twins starting rotation that has defied the skeptics in the first half of the season, ranking fifth in the AL in ERA despite having the second fewest strikeouts of any rotation in the league. Santana’s live arm gives the rotation further upside, and he’s produced a sub-4.00 ERA in four of the last five seasons.
Injuries Piling Up
Independence Day featured another injury to Stephen Strasburg, a strained oblique that resulted in the Nats placing him on the DL. The injuries to star players continued on Sunday.
Pirates breakout outfielder Starling Marte left Sunday’s game with discomfort in his left side. There’s no definitive word, but the fear is that he’s also suffered the dreaded oblique strain. Such an injury would be a shame for a player who has hit .281-13-48 with 16 steals while protecting Andrew McCutchen in the batting order. More should be known about the injury on Monday.
Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez also left Sunday’s game early with after getting hit by a pitch in the hand. Gonzalez did remain in the game to play first base, but was replaced in his following at-bat. It sounds like he will at least avoid the DL with what is being called a right hand contusion. The Dodgers have plenty of depth should Gonzalez miss time.
American League Quick Hits: Sonny Gray (illness) will rejoin Oakland’s rotation on Tuesday … Andrew Miller (forearm) will start a rehab assignment at Triple-A on Monday. It remains to be seen who will close for the Yankees when he returns … Yordano Ventura (hand) will skip his final rehab start and rejoin the Royals rotation this week … The Boston Globe reports the Blue Jays are looking at Jason Grilli, among other closers … Justin Masterson will pitch out of the pen for the remainder of the first half … Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch on the ankle during Sunday’s game, but expects to play on Monday … Steven Souza is day-to-day after suffering a laceration to his hand that required three stitches after being hit by a pitch … The Rangers activated Delino DeShields from the 15-day DL and optioned Hanser Alberto to Triple-A Round Rock … Fernando Rodney was given the same opportunity for the Mariners on Sunday and converted despite allowing two baserunners … Rays catcher/DH John Jaso (wrist) could rejoin the Rays this week … Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Luis Valbuena has been bothered by a left big toe injury … Rangers manager Jeff Banister said the team hasn’t considered putting Josh Hamilton (groin) on the DL. He’s now day-to-day … Mike Moustakas was removed from Sunday’s game due to a family emergency … Alex Rodriguez hit the 670th homer of his career on Sunday … Chad Qualls (neck) will begin a rehab assignment this week … Josh Tomlin (shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment soon … T.J. House (shoulder) has been shut down for two weeks due to tendinitis. He’s already been out for one month … Nick Swisher (knee) will begin a rehab assignment after the All-Star break.
National League Quick Hits: Marcell Ozuna was surprisingly demoted to Triple-A New Orleans. He will try to regain his stroke on the farm … Carlos Gomez (wrist) missed Sunday’s game after getting injured during Saturday’s game … The Dodgers will promote someone from the minors to start Monday’s game after placing Carlos Frias on the 15-day DL with lower back tightness … Travis Ishikawa was claimed off waivers by the Pirates from the Giants. Wilmer Flores has had at least three hits in each of the last three games after going 4-for-5 on Sunday … Steven Matz was terrific in his second career start, throwing six scoreless innings vs. the Dodgers … Jorge Soler was activated from the 15-day DL by the Cubs on Sunday … Tsuyoshi Wada (shoulder) will start a rehab assignment at Double-A on Monday … Arodys Vizcaino has been reinstated from the restricted list after serving an 80-game suspension for PEDs. The former top prospect could pitch himself into high-leverage situations for the Braves if he’s effective … Marco Gonzalez (shoulder) threw live batting practice on Sunday. There’s still no timetable for his return to Triple-A. Fellow Cardinal Matt Belisle (biceps) will throw a bullpen session on Monday … Jerome Williams (hamstring) will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Reading this week … The Cardinals will employ Tyler Lyons and Tim Cooney for Tuesday’s doubleheader vs. the Cubs after placing Jaime Garcia (groin) on the 15-day DL.