Mets quartet to join Collins, staff at All-Star Game
NEW YORK -- The Mets' return to prominence has brought many spoils, not least of all this: for the first time in three years, the team will have multiple players representing it at the All-Star Game, including at least one starter.
Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia will all travel to San Diego next week as part of the National League All-Star team, which Terry Collins will manage -- his reward for the Mets winning the pennant last October. Cespedes will start the game, while Syndergaard has a chance to as well. Cespedes was voted in by the fans for the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX), while Syndergaard and Familia were chosen by a player vote.
The Mets also received a late, fourth addition Friday, when 43-year-old Bartolo Colon was named as a replacement for Madison Bumgarner, who opted not to pitch in the game.
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"It's a great honor for them," Collins said.
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Cespedes, who is nearing the one-year anniversary of his trade to the Mets, will play in his second All-Star Game, but will start and represent the NL for the first time. Though he ranked highly throughout the balloting process, Cespedes made enough of a late charge in fan voting to become the league's second-most popular outfielder, finishing around 50,000 votes shy of Washington's Bryce Harper. Cespedes is slated to start in the outfield alongside Harper and Chicago's Dexter Fowler, though Fowler's right hamstring strain could change that alignment.
"I think any player that has the opportunity to represent an organization, it's an honor," Cespedes said of his selection.
Cespedes participated in and won the Home Run Derby in both 2013 (as a non-All-Star) and '14, but said he is not interested this year due to a nagging wrist injury.
Syndergaard, in his first full season, is not only a first-time All-Star but a candidate to start the Midsummer Classic on the mound. He is 9-3 with a 2.41 ERA, establishing himself as MLB's hardest-throwing starting pitcher by a significant margin. Collins mentioned him by name last week as a candidate to start the game, along with Chicago's Jake Arrieta and San Francisco's Johnny Cueto.
"That would be a dream come true," Syndergaard said. "I'd be very thankful for that."
After becoming the Mets' full-time closer early last season, Familia has converted a franchise-record 47 consecutive save chances, including an MLB-best 31 in a row this year. Familia's 31 saves are the most in Mets history prior to the All-Star break, while his 47 in a row is tied for the fifth-longest streak in big league history.
"Always, I'm trying to do the best I can," Familia said. "Thankfully, I got selected. I'm going to enjoy that."
Collins, MLB's oldest manager at age 67, plans to bring his entire coaching staff to the game in San Diego. Padres manager Andy Green will also join Collins on the NL staff.