'Speechless' McClanahan joins Yandy, Randy as Rays All-Stars

July 2nd, 2023

SEATTLE -- Tampa Bay ace pitcher was named to the 2023 American League All-Star roster on Sunday, the second straight All-Star selection for the hard-throwing left-hander.

McClanahan might have been in line for his second consecutive start in the All-Star Game before injuries intervened. The lefty exited his June 22 start after only 3 2/3 innings due to mid-back tightness, and he was placed on the 15-day IL on Saturday, a day after a shaky three-inning start against the Mariners, with the same injury. He is not eligible to come off the injured list until July 16, the finale of the Rays’ first series after the break, so he will not be able to participate in this year’s All-Star Game.

“I’m honored,” McClanahan said with tears in his eyes. “Very humbled. Gosh, I’m speechless. This is one of those things that you always dream about as a kid, and for it to happen again, I’m truly honored.”

McClanahan earned the All-Star nod by being the ace of Tampa Bay’s staff. The left-hander is 11-1 with a 2.53 ERA, 2.8 WAR and 101 strikeouts in 96 innings over 17 starts, and the Rays are 14-3 behind him this season. With his four-pitch mix and continued improvement, the 26-year-old has quickly established himself as one of the game’s best starting pitchers and someone who should have plenty more All-Star Game appearances in his future.

“Incredibly deserving,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said of his stalwart hurler. “To back up what he did last year -- the first half and start the game -- and to be just as dominant this next season speaks about how talented Mac is, how driven and motivated he is. 

“I know he’s a little dinged up right now, but it’s an honor that we appreciate as an organization. We appreciate having him. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to name him an All-Star.”

McClanahan’s addition to the roster gives Tampa Bay three All-Stars as first baseman Yandy Díaz and left fielder Randy Arozarena were named starters on Thursday.

The three All-Star spots seemed low within the Rays’ clubhouse as the team currently tops the American League at 57-29, 5 1/2 games better than the team with the next-best record, the Texas Rangers.

“There are four, five, six guys in this clubhouse that are more than deserving and should have gotten the recognition,” McClanahan said. “I’m frustrated for them, everyone in here is frustrated for them. Doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re having a helluva year and we’re just glad they’re on our team.”

Cash echoed his ace pitcher’s sentiments on the fewer-than-expected number of Rays named to the All-Star roster.

“I’m biased, but I feel like we have guys that are certainly worthy,” Cash said. “We’ll see how it shakes out -- there are always guys that get added late, but I do think guys are deserving of it. 

“Offensively, you look at Wander [Franco], [Luke] Raley, Josh [Lowe] , Harold [Ramirez], Isaac Paredes. There’s a bunch of guys that deserve some talk. Whether they get in or not -- I think Wander’s at the top of that list. 

“Then you take Zach Eflin -- not that he’s been overshadowed by Mac’s dominance, but maybe that doesn’t help Zach so much -- because he’s been pretty dang good.”

While Tampa Bay’s All-Star count currently sits at three, more could be added once injury replacements are announced at a later date.