CLEVELAND -- Danny Salazar will be representing the Indians' talented rotation at the All-Star Game this year. If he had his way, though, the hard-throwing right-hander would bring, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin along with him."I wish," Salazar said with a smile. "I'm sure if we all go,
CLEVELAND -- Danny Salazar will be representing the Indians' talented rotation at the All-Star Game this year. If he had his way, though, the hard-throwing right-hander would bring, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin along with him.
"I wish," Salazar said with a smile. "I'm sure if we all go, we would get a 'W.'"
That group of five starters has been the backbone of the Indians' run to the top of the American League Central this season. The lineup and defense have been anchored by energetic and effervescent shortstop Francisco Lindor. Those elements of Cleveland's season will be on display at the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard in San Diego.
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On Tuesday night, Salazar and Lindor were named to the AL All-Star team -- a first for both players. Salazar has been a force within the rotation, pacing the league in ERA and strikeout percentage. Lindor has served as the Indians' third hitter all year and has put on a show up the middle with his glove.
This marks the first time since 2013 that Cleveland has at least two All-Star representatives. That year, the Indians clinched the AL's top Wild Card spot in what ultimately wound up being a one-and-done postseason experience. Situated atop the AL Central standings at the moment, Cleveland is hoping to last a little longer on the October stage this coming fall.
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"To be able to have conversations like that with Danny and Frankie, it's an awful good feeling," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It's kind of a cool thing for the organization."
Lindor is the first Indians shortstop to make an All-Star team since 2012, when Asdrubal Cabrera got the nod. The 22-year-old Lindor -- selected by Cleveland in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft -- is also the youngest Indians player to make an All-Star team since 1973, when third baseman Buddy Bell got the honor at 21 years old. Both Salazar and Lindor were named to the All-Star team by their peers. They are the first pair of homegrown All-Star teammates for Cleveland since CC Sabathia and Victor Martinez made the AL squad in 2007.
"It means pretty much everything," Lindor said of making the team. "Besides representing our family, representing Puerto Rico, I thank the Indians, I thank them because of the opportunity they gave me in 2011, when I wasn't even expecting them to call my name. It's huge."
If a replacement is needed to fill out the AL pitching staff, do not be surprised if right-handers Tomlin (9-1, 3.21 ERA) or Bauer (7-2, 3.02) are considered.
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An argument could be made for Salazar -- the Indians' Wild Card Game starter as a rookie in 2013 -- to start for the AL in San Diego.
Entering Tuesday's action, Salazar led the AL in ERA (2.36), strikeout percentage (28.3) and ERA+ (196). According to baseball-reference.com, the right-hander also led AL starters in WAR (4.1), though Fangraphs had him tied for fifth at 2.4. Salazar also ranked in the top five among AL starting pitchers in wins (10), strikeouts per nine innings (10.3), FIP (3.30), home runs per nine innings (0.7), opponents' average (.194) and hits per nine innings (6.3).
"I [found out] before the game, but I had to stay quiet," Salazar said. "It was amazing when they called me to the office. Tito was talking to me like I was in trouble or something. He was trying to make a joke. A lot of players, they want to be called for the All-Star Game. It's amazing. It's a blessing.
"I've been doing my job. My numbers are there. It was something that I wanted to happen, but I really wasn't paying attention too much to that. I was more focused on helping this team to get better."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Salazar is only the third Indians pitcher with at least 10 wins and 100 strikeouts over the first 15 starts of a season, joining Bob Feller (four times) and Luis Tiant (once). Lindor, who was the runner-up for the AL Rookie of the Year Award last season, has picked up right where he left off this year.
Through 82 games played, Lindor was hitting .299 with 10 homers, 16 doubles, 42 RBIs and 54 runs scored. The switch-hitter ranked near the top of multiple offensive categories compared to his positional peers in the AL. His nine Defensive Runs Saved and 23.3 UZR/150 rating ranked first among qualified AL shortstops.
Lindor agreed with Salazar that more members of the rotation were worthy of consideration, too.
"We've got a couple other guys who could represent us out there, but he deserves it," Lindor said. "He worked hard, every day. It was unreal, watching him play every day, it's special."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.