Cruz named to Sporting News All-Star team
Slugger hit 44 home runs in first year with Mariners
SEATTLE -- Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz was named to The Sporting News American League All-Star team at designated hitter on Wednesday, becoming the first Seattle position player selected for the team since Ichiro Suzuki in 2009.
Cruz put up a .302/.369/.566 line with 44 home runs and 93 RBIs in his first season after signing a four-year, $57 million deal with the Mariners. It was his first time being selected for The Sporting News honor.
Also named to the AL team were catcher Brian McCann of the Yankees, first basemen Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and Chris Davis of the Orioles, second baseman Jason Kipnis of the Indians, shortstop Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox, third baseman Josh Donaldson of the Blue Jays and outfielders Mike Trout of the Angels, Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays and Lorenzo Cain of the Royals.
Houston's Dallas Keuchel was named the starting pitcher and Dellin Betances of the Yankees was the top reliever.
Mariners ace Felix Hernandez was the starting pitcher on The Sporting News team in 2014, as well as 2010, but no other Seattle player had been honored since Ichiro in 2004, '07 and '09.
The 11-man team was selected by a panel of 22 AL executives before the playoffs began.
Cruz actually played more games in the outfield than designated hitter and hit better when he was in the field, but he outpolled the other DH candidates. In 80 games in right field, the 35-year-old batted .337 with 31 home runs, 59 RBIs and a 1.072 OPS. In 72 games at DH, he hit .263 with 13 homers, 34 RBIs and a .783 OPS.
Also receiving votes at the DH position were Edwin Encarnacion, David Ortiz, Bautista, Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Kendrys Morales. Cruz was one of six AL players who also received votes for the outfield spots. No other Mariners received votes at any position.