Felix earns Mariners-record 6th All-Star nod
SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez earned his sixth All-Star bid on Monday, surpassing Randy Johnson for the most invitations for any pitcher in Mariners history.
Hernandez, 29, was the only Mariners player added to the American League team on Monday, when pitchers and backup position players were announced. He joins teammate Nelson Cruz, who was voted by the fans as the AL's starting designated hitter.
"It's always special," said Hernandez. "An All-Star is one of those things everybody wants to be. Every year, it's an honor."
Hernandez started last year's Midsummer Classic, pitching a scoreless first inning in the AL's 5-3 victory at Target Field in Minneapolis. This year's All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile will be July 14 in Cincinnati.
This will be Hernandez's fifth consecutive All-Star berth. He didn't pitch in the 2011 or '12 games, but threw a scoreless inning in '13 and had a perfect frame in his first Midsummer Classic in '09.
The two games in which he didn't pitch were because he threw for the Mariners on the final Sunday before the All-Star Game and thus was unavailable for the Tuesday contest, but Hernandez won't have that problem this year, as he's set to throw his final game of the first half on Thursday against the Angels.
"I think I'll be able to pitch," he said. "I'll be fine. I'll be ready. I'll go through my normal routine, play catch [on the weekend] and then be ready for an inning or two."
Hernandez is 10-5 with a 3.02 ERA and has been one of the AL's premier starters throughout his 11-year career, while becoming the face of a franchise he's remained loyal to from the time he came up as a 19-year-old phenom from Venezuela.
"Felix is fun," said Trent Jewett, the Mariners' bench coach who is filling in as manager with Lloyd McClendon in Indiana for his sister's funeral. "He enjoys the atmosphere, he enjoys his teammates. He enjoys the game. He enjoys the competition. He thrives on that.
"He's a different man when he's on the mound than the other four days of the week," Jewett said. "And that's refreshing. It's nice to come to the ballpark and have your stars be approachable and be happy and enjoy what they do. And Felix certainly enjoys it. But he has a good timer on his on-off switch on when to compete and when to have fun, and that's part of what's made him as good as he is."
Hernandez's six All-Star selections put him fourth on the all-time Mariners list behind Ken Griffey Jr., Ichiro Suzuki (10 each) and Edgar Martinez (seven).
After a tough first half, Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano was not named to the AL team, snapping his own streak of five straight starting appearances, four of which came with the Yankees before he signed with Seattle last year.
The Mariners had four All-Stars last year in Hernandez, Cano, Fernando Rodney and Kyle Seager, though both Rodney and Seager were late additions to the AL roster.
Voting is open now at MLB.com to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each League until 1 p.m. PT on Friday.
And the voting doesn't end there. During the Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 5 p.m. PT.
The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (4 p.m. PT air time, 5:15 first pitch), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.