Nathan, Darvish, Cruz headed back to All-Star Game
Closer earns sixth nod; starter, outfielder in Midsummer Classic for second time
ARLINGTON -- Pitchers Joe Nathan and Yu Darvish and outfielder Nelson Cruz will represent the Rangers in the 84th All-Star Game at Citi Field on July 16. Cruz was selected as a reserve outfielder, marking the end of the Rangers' streak of five straight All-Star Games with at least two position players in the American League starting lineup.
American League roster
|C||Joe Mauer, MIN|
|1B||Chris Davis, BAL|
|2B||Robinson Cano, NYY|
|3B||Miguel Cabrera, DET|
|SS||J.J. Hardy, BAL|
|OF||Mike Trout, LAA|
|OF||Adam Jones, BAL|
|OF||Jose Bautista, TOR|
|DH||David Ortiz, BOS|
|RHP||Clay Buchholz*, BOS|
|LHP||Brett Cecil, TOR|
|RHP||Bartolo Colon@, OAK|
|RHP||Jesse Crain*, CWS|
|RHP||Yu Darvish, TEX|
|RHP||Felix Hernandez, SEA|
|RHP||Hisashi Iwakuma, SEA|
|RHP||Justin Masterson, CLE|
|RHP||Joe Nathan, TEX|
|LHP||Glen Perkins@, MIN|
|RHP||Mariano Rivera, NYY|
|LHP||Chris Sale, CWS|
|RHP||Max Scherzer, DET|
|RHP||Justin Verlander, DET|
|C||Jason Castro, HOU|
|C||Salvador Perez, KC|
|1B||Prince Fielder, DET|
|2B||Jason Kipnis, CLE|
|2B||Dustin Pedroia, BOS|
|2B||Ben Zobrist, TB|
|SS||Jhonny Peralta, DET|
|3B||Manny Machado, BAL|
|OF||Nelson Cruz, TEX|
|OF||Alex Gordon, KC|
|OF||Torii Hunter, DET|
|DH||Edwin Encarnacion, TOR|
Texas reliever Tanner Scheppers is one of five pitchers up for the AL Final Vote. He will compete against Joaquin Benoit of the Tigers, David Robertson of the Yankees, Steve Delabar of the Blue Jays and Koji Uehara of the Red Sox. Scheppers is 5-1 with a 1.48 ERA in 41 appearances.
This is the sixth time Nathan has been selected to the All-Star Game and the second time for Cruz and Darvish. Cruz was selected as a reserve in 2009, and Darvish went as the AL Final Vote winner in 2012, but neither appeared in the game.
Nathan has appeared in five All-Star Games and has allowed one run on three hits in five innings. He has walked one and struck out four. This is the second straight year he will represent the Rangers in the All-Star Game.
"Anytime you get to go to these, it's an honor," said Nathan, who's from Pine Bush, N.Y., just north of New York City. "Obviously to have your peers and managers and staff recognize you, putting you on this All-Star team, it always means a lot. Especially being able to come over to a new team, being able to follow through on a signing when [the Rangers] showed trust in you to come out and perform and do it on the field, that means a lot too. Even though it is the sixth time now, it's still going back to New York, which always means something too, going back to my hometown."
Nathan went into Saturday's game against the Astros with 28 saves, tied for the second most in the AL. He also had a 1.43 ERA and had held opponents to a .156 batting average.
"He has been tremendous ... almost perfect," manager Ron Washington said. "He hasn't let us down one time when he has taken the mound. He finds a way and he can get three outs. This first half has been top notch for me. He has been challenged and passed every test."
Cruz went into Saturday hitting .268 with 21 home runs and 65 RBIs. He was fifth in the league in both home runs and RBIs, and he was 10th with a .521 slugging percentage.
"It's always special, I guess more special because it's in New York," Cruz said. "I have my family there, a lot of friends, so it's going to be really nice. My whole family's here [this weekend], my dad, my mom, a few cousins. It's nice to give that news in person, which is always better than doing it on the phone."
Said Washington of Cruz's impact on the Rangers this year: "Outstanding and well-needed. He's gotten so many huge hits for us through all the turmoil, personnel changes and injuries. He has been the one constant and certainly needed. He is a big reason why we are where we are."
Cruz could be a candidate for the State Farm Home Run Derby on July 15, but right now he is ambivalent about it. He was second in the Home Run Derby in 2009.
"I don't know," Cruz said. "It would be nice, but it depends on how my body feels. If they ask me right now, I'd say no. My body feels like it needs the time off. But my body goes up and down. It would be nice to do it, but we've got a pretty good thing going and I want to keep it that way."
Darvish, who allowed a season-high five earned runs on Saturday against the Astros, went into the game 8-3 with a 2.78 ERA that was the third lowest in the league. He also led the league with 151 strikeouts and opponents were hitting .190 off him, the lowest in the league.
"It's unbelievable that I was selected," Darvish said. "It's an honorable thing. I'm really grateful."
From Saturday 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.
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.
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.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.