KANSAS CITY -- Andrew Benintendi is headed to the All-Star Game.
The Royals' left fielder was selected as an All-Star reserve on Sunday afternoon during the selection show on ESPN and will make his first All-Star appearance on July 19 in Los Angeles. He was the only Royals selection this year after catcher Salvador Perez hit the injured list at the end of June with a left thumb strain.
Manager Mike Matheny called a team meeting before the Royals’ 5-1 win over the Guardians at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday afternoon to deliver the news. Benintendi, one of the more even-keeled and laid-back players in the Royals' clubhouse, took the news in and then did what he’s done all year: Hit.
With an RBI single in the fifth inning and a walk in the sixth, he extended his on-base streak to 19 games -- the longest active streak in the American League and tied for the second-longest of his career, trailing only the 23-game streak he had earlier this season.
Benintendi is one of two players in the Majors this season with multiple on-base streaks of at least 19 games, along with Trea Turner.
“Just like anything else pretty much,” Benintendi said of the All-Star nod. “Definitely excited. I’m glad I’ll be able to bring my family out there and experience it with them. That’s what I look forward to the most.”
Benintendi is more than deserving of the nod. He’s having his best year at the plate since 2018, when he won a World Series with the Red Sox. In his second season with the Royals, the 28-year-old entered Sunday ranked fifth in the Majors in batting average, trailing only Luis Arraez (.355), Paul Goldschmidt (.340), Rafael Devers (.327) and Bryce Harper (.318).
With eight games remaining before the All-Star break, Benintendi’s current mark of .317 is the highest by any Royal before the break since Eric Hosmer hit .318 in 2017. On top of that, Benintendi's 30 multi-hit games this year are tied for third-most in the Majors, while he’s seventh in hits (98) and tied for eighth in on-base percentage.
“I think this year, my approach has been the best it’s been,” Benintendi said. “So knowing myself as a player now and playing in this big ballpark -- obviously everyone wants to go up there and hit home runs, but for me, I’ll run a few out, but running 30 out here is a little different. So just going back to hitting the ball all over the field and making it tough for them to know where to pitch me by just spraying it all over the place.”
Benintendi can now add being an All-Star to his career resume that includes a World Series title and Gold Glove, which he won last year in left field for the Royals.
“It’s something you want to play in, a game you grew up watching,” Benintendi said. “To be a part of it will be fun. Definitely will take it all in and just try to enjoy it as much as possible.
“I’ve heard it’s a good time, obviously, I’m sure it’s going to be a whirlwind when we get there and go through all that. I’m looking forward to catching up with old teammates and meeting new guys that I haven’t met yet. Just interacting with everybody.”
The All-Star Game could come as one of Benintendi’s last representing the Royals, as he’s the organization’s biggest potential trade chip ahead of the Aug. 2 Trade Deadline. A free agent at the end of the season, Benintendi can offer contending teams a left-handed on-base machine, as well as a Gold Glove corner outfielder.