Denied back-to-back All-Star trips, Rooker set on finishing 1st half strong

July 8th, 2024

OAKLAND -- was hopeful of making a return trip to the All-Star Game, believing his numbers and overall production were right on par with the rest of the hitters who were expected to make this year’s Midsummer Classic.

As of Sunday, Rooker’s quest for a repeat has been denied. When rosters were announced for the 2024 All-Star Game during Oakland’s 6-3 finale loss to Baltimore at the Coliseum, Rooker was absent from the list of players selected to the American League team, while flamethrowing closer Mason Miller was revealed as the lone A’s All-Star.

Rooker earned his first career All-Star selection in 2023 through the player ballot, voted in by his peers around the league. This time around, David Fry of the Guardians was the player-elected designated hitter behind AL starter Yordan Alvarez.

“Some disappointment, for sure,” Rooker said of his reaction to not being selected for the All-Star Game. “At the same time, there’s a lot of guys around the league that are really good players that are deserving. There’s always going to be people left out that probably deserve to be there.

“I’m disappointed. But it doesn’t take away from what I’ve been able to do and the improvements I’ve made to my game from last year. I’m not even using it as motivation. It’s just a thing that happens. That’s not a big deal. I’m super excited for Mason to go get that experience, and I’m just looking to finish this first half strong.”

Rooker has a right to gripe about what feels like an All-Star snub. Among AL primary designated hitters, Rooker ranks first in RBIs (54); second in doubles (15), homers (18) and wRC+ (153); and third in OPS (.890).

There is still a week of games left before the All-Star break, which leaves the possibility for AL roster spots to open up for alternates or injury replacements. Should an opportunity arise, the A’s hope to see Rooker be one of the first players to get the call.

“I think he definitely should be there,” Miller said of Rooker. “You look at the year he put together last year, and he’s just taking it to another level this year. The leader he is for us, too. That’s a guy you want to have that honor as well, because he’s definitely earned it.”

"There may be a chance that if there’s an alternate or someone has an injury, that he could get selected,” added manager Mark Kotsay. “It would be deserving. He’s carried us offensively. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that, if there is an opportunity, he’s one that is chosen."

While he would be thrilled to get a last-minute call to join Miller and Kotsay -- who is part of manager Bruce Bochy’s coaching staff on the AL team -- for All-Star festivities at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Rooker certainly will not be rooting for an injury, nor will he lose much sleep if that call does not come. His focus lies on helping this rebuilding A’s squad finish off the first half on a high note.

After finishing a six-game homestand at 4-2, including three competitive games against the Orioles, whose 57 wins lead the AL, the A’s will now embark on a six-game road trip through Boston and Philadelphia.

“I feel like we’re playing well,” Rooker said. “We swept the first half of the homestand, and [the Orioles] are one of the best teams in the league and we played them close. We had a chance to win all three games. I think that continues to show our young team that everybody in this league is really good, but the margins aren’t that far off. We’re really close. When we play well, we can play with anybody in the league, and I think we proved that to ourselves this week.”