Escobar makes 1st ASG roster as '21 reserve

July 4th, 2021

PHOENIX -- For the first time in his 11-year big league career, is headed to the All-Star Game.

The D-backs infielder was named to the National League team Sunday as a reserve for the Midsummer Classic, which will take place on Tuesday, July 13, at Coors Field in Denver. He is Arizona's lone All-Star representative.

"Wow," Escobar said. "I’m so happy. I’m working hard every year for this opportunity to go to the All-Star Game. I’m so happy. Today is a special day for me, for my wife, for my family and my teammates. I’m going to represent Arizona, and that’s the most important thing."

Escobar, 32, entered Sunday hitting .249 with 18 homers and 54 RBIs. Escobar leads the D-backs in both of those categories and ranks fifth and fourth in the NL, respectively, as well.

Acquired by the D-backs prior to the Trade Deadline in 2018, Escobar has become a leader in the clubhouse and a key part of their offense, while playing second and third base.

"We’re so proud of him for that selection," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "It’s so well-deserved. This year has been a very trying year for all of us and Eduardo has been a very consistent player -- not only on the field, but off the field. He comes ready to go, he’s been an unbelievable teammate. He’s a friend to everybody.

"Sometimes you play this game and it doesn’t love you back. This was a situation where the game gave him something back, and it’s very well-deserved."

Escobar had a down year in 2020, as it was just the second time in the last eight seasons he did not post an OPS+ of 100 or more. But he has bounced back this year and been one of the few bright spots for the D-backs in 2021.

"Last year was a tough year for me," Escobar said. "I had a conversation with our manager … for me something happened, because I wanted to push myself hard in my training and do a great job in the offseason working really hard. I know I changed everything."

Growing up in Maracay, Venezuela, Escobar dreamed of one day making an All-Star team.

Lovullo knew that was the case, so he took particular pleasure in delivering the news to Escobar in front of his teammates in the training room Sunday afternoon.

"It’s been my dream for a long time," Escobar said. "When you start watching baseball as a kid, you see on TV the big league players and you see the All-Star Game on TV. It’s your dream when you start to play baseball. You dream of making the All-Star team, winning a Gold Glove, being a World Series champion. That’s why I love it coming when I’m playing hard every day. I don’t like days off.

“It was my dream since I was a little kid, especially when I remember where I came from in Venezuela. I didn’t have nothing. I came from a poor family and pushed myself hard because I wanted to be a big league player, and now I’m an All-Star."