Royals’ Salvador Perez on being chosen starting catcher for All-Star team
Major League Baseball announced Sunday night that Royals catcher Salvador Perez was selected to his fifth straight All-Star Game, and he will start for the American League for the fourth straight year on July 11 in Miami.
“Everyone is special,” Perez said. “As soon as we start the season, this is something we play for. We’re going to enjoy it, have fun and try to win the game.”
Pitcher Jason Vargas will join teammate Perez as a representative for the AL, and third baseman Mike Moustakas will have the opportunity to make the roster as the final player voted onto the team by the fans.
Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, who was the All-Star Game MVP in 2016, was not selected to the 2017 roster. As of June 26, Hosmer led in the voting for first basemen, holding a 71,654 vote lead over Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak, who ended up as the starter.
Perez, 27, is in the midst of one of his best all-round seasons in the big leagues. He’s hitting .290 with 16 home runs, 17 doubles and 50 RBIs. He is on pace to surpass his career-high of 22 home runs, which he hit in 2016.
In his four previous appearances in the All-Star Game, Perez boasts a .333 batting average with one home run, two runs scored and two RBIs. Additionally, the AL holds a 4-0 record when Perez makes the team.
Vargas, who is enjoying his best season as a big leaguer, will make his first appearance in the All-Star Game. Vargas, 34, has the lowest ERA in the AL (2.22) and is tied for the most wins (12) in the majors with Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
“I’ve never been invited before, so I am definitely looking forward to heading out to Miami and taking it all in,” Vargas said. “To be acknowledged and recognized with the best players in the game is a huge honor.”
The game’s starting pitcher is selected by the team’s manager, but with the numbers he’s posted during the first half, Vargas has an opportunity to start on the mound.
“That would be a huge honor,” Vargas said. “Everyone thinks about starting once they’ve been selected, but there are some pretty good guys at the top of the list who could probably do a great job, but right now, this is just a nice honor.”
Moustakas’ All-Star hopes rest in the hands of the fans. Fans have until 3 p.m. Central time Thursday to cast their vote for Moustakas from a list of five players, with the winner taking the final roster spot on the AL team.
“(Kansas City) fans are the best fans in baseball,” Moustakas said. “I have been saying that since the day I got drafted. They are great fans and great people.
“They’ve stuck with me through thick and thin, and it’s been a roller-coaster ride with my career so far, but they’ve been with me the entire way. It’s been an awesome ride with them.”
Moustakas, 28, is having a bounce-back year for the Royals. He has already tied his career high in home runs (22) and has 49 RBIs while hitting .270.
“Listen guys, we need Moose (Moustakas) to go, so please vote for Moose,” Perez said.