Votto, Phillips to start All-Star Game; Chapman also in
Reds' starting right side of infield making team an All-Star rarity
CINCINNATI -- The right side of the National League's All-Star infield will be comprised of Reds after the fans elected first baseman Joey Votto and second baseman Brandon Phillips as starters.
Votto and Phillips will be joined by closer Aroldis Chapman, who was also named to the NL pitching staff on the players' ballot during the MLB All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell on Saturday.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field in New York on Tuesday, July 16. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
"I'm happy for those three guys," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "I'll be watching the game. I just hope they represent us well and they win and when we go to the World Series, we have home-field advantage."
It was a breakthrough last year when Votto became the first Reds player elected to the All-Star Game since outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. in 2007. Votto is now the first player for Cincinnati to earn consecutive fan-elected starts since shortstop Barry Larkin in 1999-2000.
"It's a real honor," Votto said. "I've been selected by the fans to join the All-Star Game, one by the Final Vote [in 2010] and two as a starter. Last year had a great amount of meaning because it was my first time. It was a little bit overwhelming. This year, what's so special is I get to play besides Brandon."
Having teammates elected by fans to start together at first base and second base is an All-Star rarity which has happened only five times before. The others were Steve Garvey and Davey Lopes in 1979-80 for the Dodgers; Pete Rose and Manny Trillo for the Phillies in 1982; the Astros' Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio in 1997 and Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks with the Brewers in 2011.
"It will, in all likelihood, make things feel a little more comfortable," Votto said. "I know it will mean a tremendous amount to Cincinnati Reds fans. I know they will be motivated to tune in and see our antics on the right side of the infield."
Votto received 5,128,515 votes, which bested second-place Paul Goldschmidt's 4,269,685 votes. He is batting .322 with 15 home runs and 40 RBIs and leading the NL in walks (62), on-base percentage (.433) and third in batting and ninth in slugging percentage (.515) as of Saturday.
This will be Votto's fourth consecutive All-Star bid, and he takes none of them for granted.
"Everything is finite," Votto said. "There is an end to everything. At some point when my career is done or whenever I'm not playing as well as I'm playing right now, there will be an end to going to the All-Star Game. Whenever that time comes, in the meantime, I'm going to try and enjoy it. I'm going to take it in and get the most out of it."
Phillips received 4,799,417 votes, which put him ahead of the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter, who received 4,337,408 votes. Both Votto and Phillips led at their positions each week since balloting began in May.
"It was one of my goals to start in the All-Star Game," Phillips said. "I just want to say thank you to the fans for voting for me. It's a dream come true. It's another milestone I can just check off my goals. I thank my teammates also for making it possible for me and put me in position to put up the numbers."
Phillips, who was not selected as an All-Star last year, played in the 2010 and '11 games as a reserve. This season, he is batting .265 with 12 homers and his 64 RBIs are third in the NL as of Saturday. Plugged into the cleanup spot since the second game of the season, Phillips also leads the Majors with 24 go-ahead RBIs and 13 game-winning RBIs. He is fifth in the league with a .391 average with runners in scoring position.
Not since Joe Morgan, who was a starter seven times from 1972-78, have the Reds had a second baseman elected to an All-Star start by the fans.
"I never thought about it," Phillips said. "Joe Morgan is the best second baseman to play this game. For me to do something another Reds second baseman hasn't done other than Joe, it's an honor. A lot of hard work pays off."
A three-time NL Gold Glove Award winner, Phillips has also made dazzling defensive plays seem a routine occurrence for the Reds.
Chapman is now a two-time All-Star after making it last year. He is 3-3 with a 2.57 ERA and 20 saves in 23 chances over 38 appearances as of Saturday. He has struck out 59 with 18 walks.
"It means a lot when the players pick you and choose you to go there," Chapman said via translator Tomas Vera. "It's one of the most important things when a player recognizes who you are and what you do."
If anyone from Cincinnati was overlooked for the NL All-Star team, it was right fielder Jay Bruce. He will not get a third consecutive invite as a reserve despite batting .274 with a team-leading 18 home runs, 26 doubles and 59 RBIs.
Bruce is one of six players in the Majors this season with at least 20 doubles, 15 homers and 50 RBIs. Last season, he was picked by manager Tony La Russa despite having an extended slump.
"Somebody is going to get overlooked all the time," Baker said. "He was surprised he made it last year. You have to have a representative from every team. I would have liked to see him make the All-Star team. It is what it is. I just want him now to enjoy the off-days that are there. ... He can be strong and help take us to a championship."
Phillips is among those who plan to make this year's game appointment watching.
"I'm going to go up there and win and just try to represent the Reds in a positive way," he said. "I don't know how many innings I am going to play, but when I get in there I'm going to show up and try to entertain everybody like I always do and go out there and have some fun."
From Saturday, July 6 to Thursday, July 11, 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.
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.