HOUSTON -- The best team in Major League Baseball will be well-represented at next week's All-Star Game in Miami, with the Astros landing five players on the American League squad, including starters Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer.
Altuve will start at second base for the third year in a row and is making his fifth All-Star appearance, four of which have come in the AL. Correa (shortstop) and Springer (outfield) were voted to start by the fans, marking the first time the Astros have had three starters as a result of fan voting.
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"You have to appreciate what the fans do for you to make this dream come true," said Altuve, who's hitting .326 with 11 homers, 40 RBIs and 16 steals. "I'm sure it was a dream for George and for Carlos, as well. It was my dream. All we can say is thanks for the fans and we're going to do everything we can to make them proud."
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Starting pitchers Dallas Keuchel (9-0, 1.67 ERA) and Lance McCullers (7-1, 2.69 ERA) were both selected, marking the second selection for Keuchel, who started the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati. He's injured and won't pitch. McCullers will be on the All-Star team for the first time.
Altuve will become the second player in club history to start three consecutive All-Star games, joining Craig Biggio, who started four consecutive games at second base from 1995-98. Altuve's five All-Star nods are the tied for the second-most in club history with Lance Berkman, behind only Biggio's seven.
"It never gets old," Altuve said. "You're always going to feel happy about making the All-Star Game, but this one is better because I have four guys going with me."
The five players match the most the Astros have had in one All-Star Game (1994). The Indians, Yankees and Nationals also had five players selected this year.
"It's pretty special to be part of this whole group," McCullers said. "We've got a lot of guys in there who also deserved to be recognized as All-Stars, and hopefully there's still time to get some of those guys in there as well."
Correa, who is hitting .319 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs, outdistanced follow Puerto Rican Francisco Lindor of the Indians to win the vote at shortstop.
"It's really special," he said. "Obviously, it's something you dreamed of since you were a little kid, since you get drafted, since you signed a contract. I get to share the field with these guys in the All-Star Game and it's going to be something I'll never forget."
Springer, who is hitting .287 with 24 homers and 52 RBIs from the leadoff spot, finished third among AL outfielders behind Aaron Judge of the Yankees and Michael Trout of the Angels.
"It's special," Springer said. "It's humbling, especially to have four more guys there. It will be special for all of us. I'm sure we'll have a lot of fun and we're looking forward to it."
Keuchel thought pitchers Chris Devenski and Will Harris and infielder/outfielder Marwin Gonzalez should have made the team, and McCullers stumped for catcher Brian McCann. There's a chance either could be added as injury replacements.
"Honestly, we should have more," Keuchel said. "We're the best team in the American League, and if you look at the last couple of years, the best teams always represented with the most players. You see it in football, you see it in basketball. I think some of the guys have been snubbed."
Fans can cast ballots for the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com, Club sites and their mobile devices until 4 p.m. ET on Thursday. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will then be announced during "MLB Tonight" live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 6 p.m. Extensive coverage throughout the Final Vote will be provided by MLB Network and MLB.com, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns, and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.
Now in its 16th season, with more than 680 million votes cast, the Final Vote again will include social votes on the last day of balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the final six hours of balloting will count toward their vote totals. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET on Thursday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.
On Tuesday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.