Five Blue Jays tabbed as All-Stars
Sanchez will join Donaldson, EE, Estrada and Saunders in San Diego
TORONTO -- Aaron Sanchez was named as an injury replacement for Boston's Craig Kimbrel on the American League's All-Star team on Saturday. He joins Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, Marco Estrada and Michael Saunders as Blue Jays headed to the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard in San Diego.
Donaldson, Encarnacion and Estrada were officially named to the AL team on Tuesday night, as all were voted in by the players. Saunders won the AL's Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote, which allowed fans to cast their ballots for the final spot on the roster.
It's the first time since 2010 the club didn't have a player voted into the game as a starter, but four members of the Blue Jays' contingent will be available in reserve roles.
"I'm not a big guy who is going to try and throw my name to get people to vote for me," Donaldson said. "I'm happy I made the All-Star team, it's nice. I'm happy for the guys who made the team as starters and I'm happy to be a part of the whole scene that's there. It's rewarding."
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The 30-year-old Donaldson once again finds himself as one of the top performers in the game. He is among the American League leaders in OPS (1.006), walks (61), runs (79), RBIs (60) and home runs (22) after Saturday.
Encarnacion was Major League leader in RBIs with 80 after his performance on Saturday. He's also among the AL leaders in most major offensive categories: home runs (23), walks (45) and slugging (.541). This is the third time in the last four years Encarnacion has been named to the All-Star team, with his lone snub coming in 2015.
"I'm really honored, and I'm really happy for them," Encarnacion said of his fellow Blue Jays All-Stars. "They deserve it. They've had a great year and I hope the fans are going to vote for Saunders because he also deserves it."
Estrada finally gets the recognition he deserves after a breakout season in 2015 -- and arguably an even more impressive first half this year. The veteran right-hander set a Major League record earlier this season by becoming the first pitcher to toss at least six innings and allow five or fewer hits in 12 consecutive starts.
The 33-year-old is far from overpowering but his well-above average command and variances of speed had led to a lot of success.
"I wanted to show that you don't really need to throw 100 mph, or 95, or whatever to be successful up here," Estrada said. "I want to keep showing that and hopefully I get the opportunity to keep doing it. I want to just keep showing guys that are younger, in high school or whatever, if they don't think they throw hard enough it really doesn't matter. Just hit your spots."
He will unfortunately not get to play, after being placed on the disabled list on Wednesday. He was replaced by Cleveland's Corey Kluber on the AL roster.
Saunders received 17.7 million votes and held off a late push by Houston's George Springer, who led both leagues in the mobile text ballot. Saunders became the second Blue Jays player to win the Final Vote, after right-hander Steve Delabar earned the honour in 2013.
"It's very exciting," Saunders said. "This is a proud moment for me and my family. I'm sure there is going to be a lot of people down in San Diego from the West Coast of Canada, since it's not too far of a flight. Like I said all along, just to have my name mentioned alongside the guys who were in the Final five Vote, as well as the All-Stars. That in itself I felt like was awesome."
On Tuesday, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX at 7:30 p.m. ET, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, 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.