Smith, Kershaw join Betts, Freeman, Martinez on All-Star roster

Catcher earns his first selection; veteran pitcher now a 10-time All-Star

July 2nd, 2023

Dodgers ace and catcher are two of the best players in the Majors at their respective positions.

That sentiment was validated even more on Sunday, as Kershaw and Smith will represent the Dodgers and the National League in the 2023 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. For Kershaw, it is the second consecutive season he’s made the All-Star roster, and it’s the 10th time in his illustrious career.

For Smith, he finally earned his first All-Star selection after establishing himself as one of the top backstops in the Majors over the last few seasons. Smith and Kershaw give the Dodgers five All-Star selections, joining , and , who were voted in as NL starters on Thursday.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts broke the news to the team in the clubhouse prior to Sunday’s finale in Kansas City.

“I’m excited, first All-Star Game,” Smith said after the Dodgers’ 9-1 loss. “You dream of it as a kid, to go to the All-Star Game and be a part of it. Grateful and ready to go. Excited.”

Betts will take it a step further by participating in the Home Run Derby for the first time in his career.

Since Smith became the Dodgers’ everyday catcher in 2021, there aren’t many catchers that have put up the kind of offensive numbers he has during the same span. In ‘21, Smith hit a career-high 25 homers. In ‘22, he set a career high with 87 RBIs.

This season, despite dealing with a concussion that sidelined him for a few weeks, Smith has 12 homers, 41 RBIs and an .892 OPS, which would be a career best for Smith in a full season. Smith finished second behind Braves catcher Sean Murphy in the fan voting, which determined who starts the Midsummer Classic at the position.

“Everything's kind of surreal for the first time [you do it], so it’ll hit me,” Smith said. “But as a competitor, you work to earn it and you think you deserve it and earned it, and I think I do. It's cool to be in this situation and this spot, and I'm grateful I was voted in.”

As for Kershaw, it’s been more of the same for the likely future first-ballot Hall of Famer. Kershaw has been the Dodgers’ best pitcher this season and has constantly played the role of stopper for Los Angeles. Without Kershaw, the Dodgers wouldn’t be nine games over .500.

In 16 starts, Kershaw is 10-4 with a 2.55 ERA and has punched out 105 batters over 95 1/3 innings. Of the five pitchers that started the season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation, Kershaw is the only one to make all of his starts up to this point.

That, however, could change this week as Kershaw is dealing with left shoulder inflammation and his next start is up in the air. Kershaw has said he would like to continue pitching, but he hasn’t been able to throw a bullpen session after receiving a cortisone shot on Wednesday.

If Kershaw is forced to go on the injured list, he wouldn’t pitch in the Midsummer Classic. Given the recent injury, it might be unlikely Kershaw pitches in the game even if he doesn’t land on the IL.

Either way, the Dodgers now have five deserving All-Star representatives in Seattle. And Roberts will continue to advocate for top reliever Evan Phillips to make the game as a replacement.

Jackson Stone contributed to this report.