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Merrifield will use All-Star snub as motivation

Royals' utility player entered Monday with .303/.371/.429 slash line
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

MINNEAPOLIS -- Royals super-utility man Whit Merrifield found out moments before Sunday's game at Kauffman Stadium that his teammate, catcher Salvador Perez, had made the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, but he did not.

Asked if the perceived snub would serve as possible motivation in the future, Merrifield paused and then said, "Well, I got five hits [Sunday]. So yeah, I try to use stuff like that to motivate me."

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Royals super-utility man Whit Merrifield found out moments before Sunday's game at Kauffman Stadium that his teammate, catcher Salvador Perez, had made the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, but he did not.

Asked if the perceived snub would serve as possible motivation in the future, Merrifield paused and then said, "Well, I got five hits [Sunday]. So yeah, I try to use stuff like that to motivate me."

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Merrifield, 29, certainly is having an All-Star-worthy season. Entering Monday's game against the Twins, Merrifield was hitting .303 with five home runs, 29 RBIs and 16 steals.

2018 MLB All-Star rosters

Merrifield was hoping he had done enough to garner recognition through the players/coaches voting, as Perez did.

"A little bit [disappointed]," Merrifield said. "I kind of had an outside chance to make it, so I had [my] hopes up a little.

"But Salvy is one of the best catchers in the league. He's not having his best year, but he is an All-Star on reputation. Hopefully someday [I'll have that reputation]. I just do what I can. Hopefully something like that will follow me in my career. Right now I'm just working on getting better every day."

And what does Merrifield need to do to get better?

"It's baseball, and I'm still making outs seven out of 10 times," Merrifield said. "I'm just trying to be more consistent, learn more about certain pitchers. Baseball is such a game of swings [of momentum]. One day you're feeling great and the next day you're not, and you don't know why. So you look for consistency."

Video: DET@KC: Merrifield can't be contained on the bases

Royals manager Ned Yost, while proud that Perez made his sixth straight All-Star Game, believed Merrifield and third baseman Mike Moustakas were deserving as well.

"It's not easy," Yost said. "What about [the Rays' Blake] Snell? There's only so many spots. I've been through it [as an All-Star manager]. It's not fun.

"Did we have people worthy of getting picked? Sure, we had Moose and Whit. But what's really cool is that Salvy was picked by his peers, the players and coaches and managers. For me, it's the highest honor there is. The fan vote is great, but the player vote is where it's at. That shows an appreciation of your talents by your peers."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Whit Merrifield