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Gennett, Suarez, Votto named NL All-Stars

MLB.com @m_sheldon

CHICAGO -- Normally, a team in fifth place might have trouble getting multiple All-Stars. But the Reds have also been one of baseball's hottest clubs since early May and have rebounded after a rough April. A big reason for the success is the contributions from the infield.

Three Reds infielders -- first baseman Joey Votto, second baseman Scooter Gennett and third baseman Eugenio Suarez -- were named as reserves on the National League squad for the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.

CHICAGO -- Normally, a team in fifth place might have trouble getting multiple All-Stars. But the Reds have also been one of baseball's hottest clubs since early May and have rebounded after a rough April. A big reason for the success is the contributions from the infield.

Three Reds infielders -- first baseman Joey Votto, second baseman Scooter Gennett and third baseman Eugenio Suarez -- were named as reserves on the National League squad for the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.

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Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman and president of baseball operations Dick Williams informed each All-Star privately in the skipper's office.

"I was really happy and appreciative that our three guys were on there, they should be on there, they're on there, it's a great honor," Riggleman said. "It's a special group there."

Votto and Suarez were voted on to the team by the players ballot. Gennett was a selection from Major League Baseball. It is the sixth time Votto has been an NL All-Star while Gennett and Suarez will be first-timers.

"Jim just said, 'Why am I not winning more games with an infield like this?' The infield really came on strong," Williams said. "Considering what happened in April -- a relatively slow start for Votto and Geno being hurt -- for them to come back and make this kind of statement in a shorter period of time really says a lot. Of course, Scooter started his campaign last year when he went from a role player to an everyday player to an impact player. These are three guys we really like having in our infield."

Votto, 34, is batting .292/.425/.437 with eight home runs and 44 RBIs. Winner of the 2010 NL Most Valuable Player Award, he entered Sunday leading the NL in on-base percentage.

"The players voting me in was really exciting," said Votto, an All-Star for a second straight time. "I was really hopeful to make the team, and to make it is always a great honor. I'm very happy about that."

The 28-year-old Gennett leads the NL with a .326 average and he also has a .368 on-base percentage, .515 slugging percentage, 14 home runs and 58 RBIs.

Video: Votto, Gennett, Suarez make the 2018 All-Star Game

"Just being recognized for the effort, but also the performance and numbers and stuff is great," Gennett said. "It's definitely going to be a lot of fun going there and experiencing it. Obviously, it's my first one so definitely looking forward to it."

Suarez, 26, is batting .315/.405/.590 with a team-leading 19 homers and an NL-leading 68 RBIs. Currently on an 11-game hitting streak, he also entered Sunday leading the NL in offensive WAR (3.4) and on-base-plus slugging percentage.

To put his numbers into further context, Suarez also missed 16 games in April with a fractured right thumb.

"My heart is [beating] fast right now. It feels so happy," Suarez said. "It's an honor to be part of the All-Star Game. Right now, I feel so, so happy. I know my dream came true. I've always dreamed about the All-Star team, the All-Star Game, the All-Star players. Now, I can say I'm an All-Star player."

Unlike Votto, who was homegrown in the organization and debuted in 2007 to become a cornerstone of the franchise, Gennett and Suarez were acquired from other clubs with little or nothing in return. They have become major contributors to Cincinnati's lineup and inside the clubhouse.

The Reds claimed Gennett off waivers just before the end of Spring Training on March 28, 2017. Originally used as a utility player on the bench, his bat and ability to drive in runs helped force his way into the starting lineup in the second half.

"Scooter, when we claimed him, our scouts had a vision of what he could become," Williams said. "But really, he exceeded those expectations."

Also on June 6 of last season against the Cardinals, Gennett became the first player in Reds history to hit four home runs in one game. Overall, he batted .295/.342/.531 with 27 homers and 97 RBIs.

"I think a lot of players, until they get that opportunity or until they earn that opportunity, it can be tough," Gennett said. "I fought my way into the lineup last year. Once I've been in there every day, the rest is kind of history in a sense. I think the true player in me came out and that's been a lot of fun."

On Dec. 11, 2014, the Reds traded pitcher Alfredo Simon to the Tigers to get Suarez with plans to groom him as a future shortstop. But after the departure of Todd Frazier following the '15 season, the Reds shifted Suarez to third base. Although he initially struggled defensively, he made vast improvements at the position and also hit 26 homers with 82 RBIs in 156 games.

In March, the Reds wanted Suarez to be a cornerstone player for their future and backed it up by signing him to a seven-year contract worth $66 million.

"Eugenio has played great and Scooter also," Votto said. "We play every day together. We've played really well of late and there's a pretty good reason why, and those two are at the center of it."

On Tuesday, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, 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, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., 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.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Scooter Gennett, Eugenio Suarez, Joey Votto