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Snell replaces Kluber on AL All-Star roster

MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Nearly a month ago, Blake Snell's father bought tickets to the All-Star Game for himself and Snell's younger brother. Despite Blake's protests, his father was so confident that the 25-year-old Rays ace would be headed to Washington D.C. for the Midsummer Classic that he didn't see any reason to wait.

On Friday, that early investment paid dividends. The Rays announced that Snell will replace Indians ace Corey Kluber on the American League roster for Tuesday's All-Star Game at Nationals Park.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Nearly a month ago, Blake Snell's father bought tickets to the All-Star Game for himself and Snell's younger brother. Despite Blake's protests, his father was so confident that the 25-year-old Rays ace would be headed to Washington D.C. for the Midsummer Classic that he didn't see any reason to wait.

On Friday, that early investment paid dividends. The Rays announced that Snell will replace Indians ace Corey Kluber on the American League roster for Tuesday's All-Star Game at Nationals Park.

View Full Game Coverage

Video: Ramos, Snell represent Rays in the 2018 All-Star Game

"It's cool," Snell said. "I knew I deserved it. Knew I put in the work. It's just awesome. It's a childhood dream and something that I've looked forward to for a long time. To be able to do it and say I did it, nobody can take that away from me."

Snell owns the third-lowest ERA in the AL at 2.27 and is eighth in the AL with 134 strikeouts, entering Friday. He has emerged as the ace of a Rays team that has battled to a 48-45 record after a rocky start to the season.

Video: TB@MIN: Snell escapes a bases-loaded jam in the 1st

Snell was initially left off the AL roster and had plenty of supporters vocally proclaiming their belief that he deserved to make the roster. Everybody from Rays starter Chris Archer to ESPN college basketball personality Dick Vitale took to social media to back Snell.

"[Snell] handled it as good as anybody -- much better than I would have," Archer said of Snell's reaction when he found out he had not made the original roster. "But he knew in his heart what would happen. And it ended up happening. He trusted the whole process. It was a little late, but better late than never.

On Friday, Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash broke the news to Snell via phone call that he would be replacing Kluber.

"I think Blake might have been playing video games when I called -- either I woke him up, or he was playing video games," Cash said, laughing. "He gave me a pretty subdued reaction, but that's Blake. I know he's very excited, and he should be, he's very deserving to go represent himself and the organization. It's pretty special."

Video: Snell frustrated after not being named an All-Star

Snell, a Shoreline, Wash., native, has fond memories of watching former Mariners stars take part in the All-Star Game.

"[Ken Griffey Jr.] was everything to me," Snell said. "I loved watching [Adrian] Beltre -- which is crazy because he's still playing. Mariners guys are really what I rooted for; Bret Boone, Mike Cameron; it was all Mariners guys."

While watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX on Tuesday, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.

For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com.

Tampa Bay Rays, Blake Snell