DENVER -- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has this knack for finding himself in the starting lineup of the Midsummer Classic.For the third time in as many invitations, Gonzalez -- who has never been voted into the lineup by fans -- will start for the National League in the 2016 All-Star
DENVER -- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has this knack for finding himself in the starting lineup of the Midsummer Classic.
For the third time in as many invitations, Gonzalez -- who has never been voted into the lineup by fans -- will start for the National League in the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on Tuesday night at Petco Park, with coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m. MT on FOX. Gonzalez started as designated hitter in 2012 and in center field in 2013.
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"They know that I don't like to be on the bench, so I always find a way to get to the starting lineup," Gonzalez said, with his trademark easy smile, Saturday after the decision was announced.
Injuries to the Mets' Yoenis Cespedes, who finished second among NL outfielders in fan balloting, and the Cubs' Dexter Fowler, who finished third, opened the door to the NL starting lineup for Miami's Marcell Ozuna and Gonzalez, the highest-ranked NL outfielders on the Player Ballot.
"It's never the same roster or the same guys when they decide who's going to go to the All-Star Game," Gonzalez said. "It's always nice to have that opportunity to go."
Just before the 2013 All-Star Game, Gonzalez suffered a finger injury that began a period of finger and knee issues that robbed him of production. But during the first half of last year, Gonzalez has been back to stay. From last June 1 through Friday night, Gonzalez led the NL with 54 home runs (one more than teammate and fellow All-Star Nolan Arenado) and was second in RBIs with 135 (behind Arenado's 165). Gonzalez wasn't invited to last year's All-Star Game, but he left no doubt he belonged this year.
"I'm just excited by the way I started my first half," said Gonzalez, who will participate in Monday's T-Mobile Home Run Derby. "Obviously, last year's second half was a joke -- I put up some big, monster numbers. But I feel I've been consistent ever since the All-Star break last year. That's something that we talked about in Spring Training, picking up where I left. I had solid numbers in the first half. Why not do it again in the second half?"
On Tuesday, watch the 2016 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 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.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.