Twins catcher makes sixth appearance, while closer on club for first time
TORONTO -- Joe Mauer and Glen Perkins have known each other since Little League, and now the two Minnesota natives will be heading to New York to represent the Twins in the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field on July 16.
Mauer was voted in by the fans as the starting catcher for the American League for the fourth time in his career, while Perkins was chosen to replace injured White Sox reliever Jesse Crain by Tigers skipper Jim Leyland, who will serve as manager for the AL squad.
It marks the sixth career All-Star Game selection for Mauer, who hails from St. Paul, and the first for Perkins, who grew up in nearby Stillwater, Minn.
"It's an awesome deal," Mauer said. "Obviously to bring a teammate like Glen -- we go way back -- is really special. So I'm very excited. I'm probably more excited for him, but I'm just excited about everything."
Mauer said he first met Perkins when they were about 12 years old, and they really got to know each other when they were both selected to the Metro East Lions All-Star team as high school seniors in '01.
Mauer was drafted by the Twins as the No. 1 overall pick that summer, while Perkins went off to the University of Minnesota and became a first-round pick in '04. They've been teammates on the Twins since '06 and also played for Team USA in this year's World Baseball Classic.
"I think it still hasn't sunk in," Perkins said. "It's a goal that everyone has once they play in the Major Leagues. I think more than anything, I'm excited to go with Joe. We've known each other for a long time and it's been pretty well-documented this year what we've been through. So this is another chapter for that. So it's pretty neat."
Until Thursday, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com for the final player for each League's All-Star roster.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Mauer, 30, is enjoying another productive season at the plate, hitting .314/.393/.466 with eight homers, 25 doubles, 30 RBIs and 49 runs in 80 games.
The 2009 American League MVP joins Ivan Rodriguez (12 times) and Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk (seven) as the only AL catchers to earn four fan-elected starts. In addition, he became one of just three players in Twins history to accomplish the feat, joining Hall of Famers Rod Carew (nine times) and Kirby Puckett (six).
"He's the best catcher in baseball -- batting average, the whole package," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Mauer consistently hits .320, .330. He's an All-Star. That's why he keeps being put in there. All the players respect him. They watch him hit and he's there for a reason."
Perkins, meanwhile, has established himself as one of the game's better closers, as the left-hander has a 1.93 ERA with 45 strikeouts and just seven walks in 32 2/3 innings. The 30-year-old also has 20 saves in 22 opportunities.
Gardenhire said he was happy to see Perkins get the honor, considering the Twins have struggled this year, which has hurt his save opportunities.
"There's a lot of good relievers there at the end, and you never know -- here we are 10 games under .500 -- and you never know how people are going to react," Gardenhire said. "Bottom line, he's dominated. Look at his batting average against [.159]. You can look at all the numbers and the numbers say that he's an All-Star. I'm happy that he gets this opportunity. It's well-deserved."
It marks the first time since '10 that the Twins are sending multiple players to the Midsummer Classic, as Michael Cuddyer was their lone representative in '11 and Mauer was their only All-Star in '12. The Twins had more than one All-Star every year from '05-10.
"It's a lot more fun when you have a teammate to share it with," Mauer said. "I've always said, 'As long as they keep having me, I'll go.' It's a nice honor and a nice little thing during the middle of the season. To bring your teammate for the first time is a lot of fun."