07/04/10 6:53 PM ET
Wells, Bautista and Buck named All-Stars
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
"He said, 'Come in here. I want to check out how your knees are doing,'" Buck recalled.
Confused, but understanding that his skipper might be concerned about the wear and tear a catcher takes during the daily grind of a baseball season, Buck headed inside and closed the door. That is when Gaston smiled and extended his hand.
"He said, 'You're going to the All-Star Game,'" Buck said with a smile. "My hand started shaking. It was pretty cool."
On Sunday, the American League and National League All-Star teams were revealed, and the Blue Jays will have three representatives at Angel Stadium for the annual celebration of the game's elite players on July 13. Buck joins outfielders Jose Bautista and Vernon Wells as this season's All-Star class for Toronto.
For Buck and Bautista, it is a first-time honor for a pair of players enjoying breakout showings for the Blue Jays in this season's first half. Wells has now garnered three All-Star selections in his career, but is making the trip to the Midsummer Classic for the first time since 2006.
The three All-Stars are the most for the Blue Jays since they sent five to the annual exhibition in 2006, which was also the last time the club sent two outfielders. Buck also joins Ernite Whitt (1985) as the only catchers in Toronto franchise history to make an All-Star team.
"I'm happy for all three of them," Gaston said. "I was quite pleasantly surprised that they took three."
Bautista and Wells each made the AL roster via peer balloting, receiving the highest vote totals among outfielders not in the starting lineup. Buck finished third in player voting behind Minnesota's Joe Mauer and Boston's Victor Martinez, but found his way onto the exclusive squad.
That was due to the fact that Mauer earned the nod as the AL's starting catcher through fan balloting and Martinez is currently on the disabled list. That opened up the door for Yankees manager and AL skipper Joe Girardi to approve Buck's selection as an injury replacement.
"He chose the best guy," Gaston said. "He's leading all catchers in just about evertything, so that was a good choice. There's other guys that he probably could've taken. And I guess in other circumstances, Buck wouldn't have made it, either. I was happy to see him make it. You try to take the best if you can."
Fans, having already decided the starters and this week the final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevy via the 2010 All-Star Game MVP Vote sponsored by Sprint on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.
The 81st Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and Le Reseau des Sports, and around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.
Making the All-Star team was not something Buck was wasting much time thinking about over the past few weeks. He even had to break the news to his wife that they were going to have to postpone their original plans for the upcoming break.
"I told my wife, 'I've got bad news,'" Buck said. "'We're going to have to cancel the Niagara Falls trip.' Hopefully she forgives me."
Buck was thrilled to be joining Wells and Bautista in Anaheim, though.
"Vernon, he does a lot more than just playing on the field." Buck said. "He's an example to us. His hot start was obviously a big boost for us to start out hot. He does a lot more then just playing good. For him to respond like he did after last year says something about his character. It's well deserved.
"Obviously Jose, it seems like whenever he hits the ball it goes out of the park. He's having a great year, so it's pretty cool to have that many guys be going."
Wells -- previously an All-Star in 2003 as well as '06 -- is currently hitting .274 with 19 home runs (tied for third most in the AL) with 24 doubles and 48 RBIs. Wells' 44 extra-base hits were tied for the most in the AL, entering Sunday. It has been a strong campaign for Wells, who has battled injuries in each of the past three seasons.
Bautista, who has played for five different big league teams in seven seasons, entered Sunday as the Major League's leading home run hitter with 21 long balls this season. Serving primarily as a right fielder this year, Bautista has hit just .236 through 82 games, but he boasted 52 RBIs and ranked second in the AL with 50 walks.
While earning his first All-Star selection undoubtedly is special, Bautista hopes it is simply that more good things are in store down the road.
"I'm happy about it," he said. "I'm glad that I've been able to contribute to the team so far. Hopefully I've got more stuff coming my way. But definitely it feels good to be recognized and I'm going to be representing the Blue Jays with honor at the game."
Whether Bautista will take part in the State Farm Home Run Derby remains up in the air.
"I've thought about it," Bautista said. "I've got mixed feelings about it so far. Obviously, it's something you've got to consider if they do contact me about it. I've heard a couple of guys have gotten messed up after they've been in it. I've been in a couple in the Minor Leagues since I've played and I've never had problems.
"Plus, there'd be a lot of pressure on you on the big stage. We'll see. I'm not really a home run hitter during [batting practice]. I hit more line drives than anything. I'd have to make an adjustment with my swing to get the ball up in the air more."
Buck has been doing that plenty this season.
Signed to a one-year contract by the Jays over the offseason, Buck is batting .274 with 13 home runs (seven courtesy of three multihomer games) and 40 RBIs. The first-time All-Star currently leads all Major League catchers in homers and RBIs.
As for his knees?
"My knees are great," Buck said with a laugh.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.