Yanks boast MLB-high 6 All-Stars, with 3 1st-timers

Cortes, Holmes, Trevino joining Cole, Judge and Stanton in Los Angeles

July 11th, 2022

BOSTON -- There was uncertainty in Nestor Cortes’ voice as he poked around Yankees camp this spring, seeking scraps of information from the coaches’ room. Did the club see him as a starter or reliever? Would he even be on the Opening Day roster?

Catching wind of this, manager Aaron Boone ambled toward Cortes’ locker one day in March, attempting to settle the matter once and for all. Boone recalled telling the left-hander: “On the team? You’re going to be an All-Star. You’re going to L.A.”

Boone reminded Cortes of that exchange on Sunday at Fenway Park, part of a series of happy closed-door discussions in the visiting manager’s office that were caught by hidden camera and posted to social media.

The Yankees will be represented by at least six All-Stars in the July 19 Midsummer Classic at Dodger Stadium, with Cortes, Gerrit Cole, Clay Holmes and Jose Trevino joining previously announced American League starters Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. It is the first time since 2011 (eight) that the Yankees have had six or more All-Stars.

“Obviously, I wanted to believe it when he said it,” Cortes said, recalling his March chat with Boone. “I didn’t know it was going to be real. I’m happy that he was able to have confidence in me, being part of the staff and being up here since the beginning.”

This will mark the fifth All-Star selections for Cole and Stanton, and the fourth for Judge. It is the first trip for Cortes, Holmes and Trevino, a fact that their teammates are relishing.

“The first time is always just super, super special,” said Cole, who is 8-2 with a 3.26 ERA through 17 starts. “It’s L.A., so you know they’re going to do it right. Everybody is super excited for the guys that are going, and hopefully we get a couple more. There’s a couple of other guys that are very well-deserving in that clubhouse and we’d like to see them there, too.”

The 27-year-old Cortes has been one of baseball’s best stories in the first half, an endearing tale of perseverance blended with an array of crafty and funky deliveries from a 5-foot-11 frame.

A one-time 36th-round pick in the MLB Draft who has bounced from the Yankees to the Orioles, back to the Yankees and briefly with the Mariners before finding success, Cortes has gone 7-3 with a 2.74 ERA in 16 starts this season, striking out 95 and walking 21 while scattering 70 hits across 88 2/3 innings.

“All the struggles that I had coming through the system, not being a ranked prospect and not really being a good big leaguer,” Cortes said, “I guess I would say that I stayed focused. I didn’t let any negative news determine my future. I kept my head down and we’re here today. I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

Holmes, 29, has emerged as one of baseball’s most dominant relievers, learning to trust his elite sinker. The even-tempered right-hander has a 0.46 ERA that ranks lowest among Major League relievers through 38 appearances, recording 16 saves and finishing 20 games while holding opponents to a .167 average (23-for-138).

“It’s pretty special,” Holmes said. “I definitely feel just grateful and blessed. There’s so many people I can thank that have been around me and are important to me. There’s times where this has felt pretty far away. Just looking back, putting your head down and trying to get better -- it just kind of makes it all worth it.”

As Trevino said in Boone’s office, an exchange captured by a hidden camera, he would scarcely have believed a year ago that he could have been both a Yankee and an All-Star. Acquired from the Rangers in early April, the 29-year-old has batted .255/.303/.438 with seven homers and 26 RBIs in 57 games, wresting control of the starting catcher position.

“It means a lot. I just want to thank everybody that voted for me,” said Trevino, who was planning to spend his All-Star break buying a car near his Texas home before earning the trip on the players’ ballot. “Thank you to the people that believed in me, that stuck with me. It’s been a long, long journey. I’m out to prove the people that believed in me right. I’m not trying to prove anyone wrong anymore.”

No team is sending more representatives than the Yankees’ six, and even more Bombers could be headed to Hollywood as replacements for players who are unavailable. Cole is tentatively scheduled to pitch on July 17 vs. Boston, which would rule him out of appearing in the All-Star Game.

Boone said that he would stump for right-hander Michael King (2.33 ERA, 62 K’s in 46 1/3 innings) to head west if the AL needs a replacement arm, while Cole mentioned first baseman Anthony Rizzo (22 homers, 54 RBIs) as a solid candidate.

“We certainly have some more, in my opinion, who are worthy of consideration,” Boone said.