Major League Baseball announced that Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, pitcher Clayton Kershaw and rookie shortstop Corey Seager were named to the National League All-Star team. All three were selected via player balloting, with Jansen and Seager making the first All-Star appearances of their careers, and Kershaw making his sixth.
Kershaw, 28, is the first Dodger to be named to six consecutive All-Star teams (2011-16) since Fernando Valenzuela (1981-86), but will not play in the game due to injury (mildly herniated disc).
Jansen, 28, leads MLB relievers with a 0.66 WHIP and ranks among National League relievers in saves (25, 2nd), ERA (1.30, 3rd), opponents’ batting average (.153, 3rd) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (8.80, 2nd, 44 SO/5 BB) in 36 appearances this year.
Jansen, who became the franchise’s all-time saves leader earlier this year, is the first Dodger reliever to be named to the All-Star team since 2010 (Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo), and is just the third All-Star ever from Curacao, joining Andruw Jones (2000, ’02-03, ’05-06) and Jair Jurrjens (2011). Jansen is in his seventh big league season after being signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent on Nov. 17, 2004.
Kershaw would have been a strong candidate to start the game for the National League prior to going on the DL June 27, with his MLB-leading 1.79 ERA, 16.11 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 0.73 WHIP. He also ranks among the Major League leaders in wins (11, 11-2, T-4th), innings (121.0, 2nd), strikeouts (145, 3rd) and opponents’ batting average (.185, 2nd). The three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL Most Valuable Player is in his ninth MLB season after being selected by the Dodgers in the first round (7th overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
Seager, at 22 years, 69 days, is the youngest position player to be honored as an All-Star in franchise history (previous: Pete Reiser: 22 years, 113 days), and the third-youngest Dodger All-Star overall (at the time of their first selection), behind only Fernando Valenzuela (20 years, 281 days in 1981) and Ralph Branca (21 years, 183 days in 1947). He is just the second Dodger rookie shortstop to be selected to the Midsummer Classic, joining Bill Grabarkewitz in 1970, and the first Los Angeles shortstop to be named an All-Star since Rafael Furcal in 2010.
Seager, who enters play today with the longest active hitting streak in the Majors at 17 games, ranks among the NL leaders in hits (100, 3rd), runs (57, 3rd), doubles (20, T-12th) and home runs (17, T-12th), while posting a .305/.363/.540 slashline in 84 games. The reigning NL Rookie of the Month leads the Dodgers in hits, runs, doubles, triples (3), home runs and RBI (41, T-1st), while hitting .311 with runners in scoring position (19-for-61).
Meanwhile, Angels star outfielder Mike Trout has been chosen to start for the American League in the 2016 Major League All-Star Game. He is just the third Angels player to be selected as a starter in four consecutive All-Star Games, joining Vladimir Guerrero (2004-07) and Rod Carew (1980-84).
Selected onto the team via fan voting, (receiving 3,828,794 votes, third most in the A.L.). Trout will be making his fifth consecutive All-Star Game appearance and fourth career start. At age 24, he becomes just the sixth American Leaguer to start at least four All-Star games before turning 25, joining Ken Griffey Jr. (five starts), Joe DiMaggio (four), Mickey Mantle (four), Al Kaline (four) and Ivan Rodriguez (four). Additionally, with his five All-Star game nods, Trout ranks third in franchise history trailing only Jim Fregosi (1964 and ‘66-70) and Rod Carew (1979-84).
Trout is batting .324 (99/306) with 20 doubles, two triples, 17 home runs, 54 RBI and 59 runs scored in 83 games this season. He currently ranks second in the A.L. in OBP (.426), second in walks (54), fourth in slugging (.569), fifth in average, ninth in runs scored and 10th in RBI. 2016 marks the fourth consecutive season that the 24-year-old has amassed at least 15 home runs before the All-Star Break.
Trout is just the sixth player all time to collect 15 home runs before the Midsummer Classic four times before his age-25 campaign, joining Miguel Cabrera (2004-07), Albert Pujols (2001-04), Alex Rodriguez (1996-00), Orlando Cepeda (1958-62) and Jimmie Foxx (1929-32). Additionally, Trout’s 92 career first half home runs are tied for 6th all-time by a player in their age-24-season or younger, trailing only Ken Griffey Jr. (104), Alex Rodriguez (100), Mickey Mantle (97), Eddie Mathews (95) and Jimmie Foxx (93).
Last season at Great American Ball Park, Trout went 1-for-3 with a home run, one RBI, a walk and two runs scored en route to capturing his second career All-Star Game MVP award (2014 and 2015). He became the first player to ever be named All-Star Game MVP in consecutive seasons and just the fourth player to ever take home the honors multiple times in their career. His home run, a leadoff blast against the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke was the sixth leadoff home run in All-Star Game history and first since Bo Jackson’s in the 1989 All-Star Game at Anaheim Stadium.
With a single in 2012, a double in 2013, a triple in 2014 and a homer in 2015, Trout joined Lou Whitaker, George Brett and Ted Williams as the only players to tally an All-Star Game cycle during their career.
In his four All-Star games, Trout has amassed a .500 average (5/10) with two doubles, a triple, a home run, three RBI, two walks and three runs scored. The five hits are the second most in All-Star Game history by a player before turning 25, trailing only Ken Griffey Jr.’s six and one more than Al Kaline and Mickey Mantle.
Major League Baseball’s 87th All-Star Game will be played on Tuesday, July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego.
Dodgers send rookie pitcher Julio Urias back to minors
The Los Angeles Dodgers today optioned left-handed pitcher Julio Urías to Triple-A Oklahoma City and recalled left-hander Luis Avilan from Triple-A.
Urias had his ups-and-downs in his first stint in the bigs, showing flashes of brilliance, but also struggling to go deep into games. At the very least, however, he provided the Dodgers with some key innings at a time when their starting rotation was decimated with injuries.
Avilan has appeared in four games in his two previous stints with the Dodgers this year, allowing three runs in 1.0 inning. The 26-year-old is averaging better than a strikeout per inning with Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, fanning 29 in 27.2 innings, while posting an 0-3 record with four saves and a 4.55 ERA in 26 games.
Urías, 19, went 1-2 with a 4.95 ERA in eight starts with the Dodgers after making his big league debut on May 27 at New York-NL.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services