Suzuki named to All-Star team
Minnesota Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki, a Baldwin High School graduate, was named a reserve on the American League All-Star team when rosters were announced Sunday.
Suzuki, who ranks ninth in the American League in batting average, was selected for the first time in his eight-year major league career.
This year’s game is scheduled for July 15 at Minnesota’s Target Field.
“I don’t know how to describe it,” the 30-year-old Suzuki, in his first season with the Twins, was quoted as saying on the team’s website. “It’s kind of surreal right now. I’m just trying to soak it all in. I’m just trying to have a good time with it and try to enjoy myself. It’s going to be cool. It’s my first one so I don’t know what it’ll be like, but I’m assuming it’ll be pretty fun with the home crowd behind you. This is my home team so this is exciting.”
Suzuki is batting .306, with two home runs, and his 34 RBIs are tied for the third-most among AL catchers.
He is the second Maui-born All-Star in major league history, joining outfielder Shane Victorino, who was chosen in 2009 and 2011.
Suzuki is the second Hawaii-born position player to make an All-Star team, along with Victorino. The other Hawaii-born All-Stars are Sid Fernandez (1986 and 1987), Charlie Hough (1986) and Ron Darling (1985).
Victorino is the only Hawaii-born player to start an All-Star game, getting the nod in 2009.
Suzuki finished fourth among AL catchers in fan voting. The winner of the fan balloting, Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles, is injured and will not play. The Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez was named the starter.
Suzuki is one of two Minnesota players named to the team – reliever Glen Perkins was chosen for a second straight year.
“He’s been our best player. He’s more than deserving,” Perkins said of Suzuki on the Twins’ site. “I’m excited for him, and hopefully I’ll get the chance to throw the ball to him.”
Six players from the Oakland Athletics, who have the best record in the majors, made the team – Josh Donaldson is the starting third baseman, catcher Derek Norris, first baseman Brandon Moss and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes are reserves and pitchers Sean Doolittle and Scott Kazmir were also selected.
Jeff Samardzija, who was traded to the A’s from the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, was named to the National League squad. He is ineligible to play because of the league switch.
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, playing his 20th and final season, was chosen for his 14th All-Star team and will start for the ninth time.
The other AL starters are Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Seattle Mari-ners second baseman Robinson Cano, outfielders Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and designated hitter Nelson Cruz of the Orioles.
Elected to the NL starting lineup were Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and outfielders Carlos Gomez of Milwaukee, Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers.