In recent days, Royals manager Ned Yost sequestered himself into a road office and culled together the final pieces for the American League All-Star roster.
The final list of starters and reserves won’t be official until Tuesday night’s selection show — and Yost isn’t dropping any hints — but the manager confirmed Monday that the roster is essentially finalized.
“You never finalize it until right at the day before the game, because you get guys that get hurt and you’re always having to make adjustments to it,” Yost said on Monday. “But we have our roster pretty much set right now.”
Yost will manage the American League All-Stars for the second straight season, a reward for guiding his club to a World Series championship in 2015. The 87th All-Star Game is set for next Tuesday at Petco Park in San Diego.
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New York Mets manager Terry Collins will manage the National League.
The Royals are expected to be well represented. In the final voting updated, released last Monday, Royals catcher Salvador Perez led all AL players in voting (3,754,594), well ahead of Baltimore’s Matt Wieters (1,033,217), the second highest-vote getter among catchers. Perez is a virtual lock to make his fourth straight All-Star appearance. First baseman Eric Hosmer (2,638,022) also had a comfortable lead on Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera (2,088,920), pacing for his first All-Star nod.
Lorenzo Cain was in fourth place among outfielders, though a trip to the disabled list after a hamstring strain may have blunted his momentum in the fan vote.
The Royals, however, could also stuff the American League roster with relief pitchers. Closer Wade Davis (19 saves, 1.23 ERA) would seem to be a near lock to make the squad for the second straight year. Setup man Kelvin Herrera (1.40 ERA) could also be in line to make his second straight All-Star appearance, especially considering his manager has a say on some of the last picks.
The starters are selected by fan vote, and a majority of the reserves are subject to a player vote. After that, Yost said this year he had to select two position players from teams that weren’t represented, in addition to four pitchers.
“I’ll have to fill in spots where the teams aren’t represented, but the hardest part is just a 34-man roster,” Yost said. “I wish it were 40. You’ve got so many guys that deserve All-Star recognition; you just don’t have spots for it. And we do a lot of work on this team to try to make sure that, not only do we have the best team, but everybody that’s All-Star worthy gets a shot to play in the All-Star Game.”
A year ago, Herrera was the rare seventh-inning reliever deemed All-Star worthy. This year, working even more high-leverage situations, he would welcome the opportunity to make a second trip.
“Last year, I was a seventh inning guy,” Herrera said. “We were so proud because we kind of opened doors, because there’s only a couple closers, a lot of starters. I hope good things happen again.”