07/11/11 11:36 PM ET
Quartet of Yankees excited for All-Star Game
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Second baseman Robinson Cano, outfielder Curtis Granderson and catcher Russell Martin were joined on Monday by right-handed reliever David Robertson, who was a last-minute addition to the AL's staff, replacing the injured David Price.
"I feel like this is such a big event to be invited to and make," said Robertson, who is enjoying his first selection to the Midsummer Classic. "It's pure excitement. I can't believe it, that I get to say I'm an All-Star. It means a lot to me."
In addition, New York had four players selected to the AL's roster but were unable to participate in Tuesday's events, and thus did not travel to Arizona.
Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera bowed out due to injury, and CC Sabathia was added but quickly replaced because he had pitched on Sunday.
With Jeter and Rodriguez out, Cano is left as the lone representative in what had once been a Yankees-heavy infield, receiving his third All-Star selection and second consecutive fan-elected start.
The slick-fielding Cano notched the third-most votes in the Majors with 6,679,976, finishing more than two million votes ahead of Boston's Dustin Pedroia (4,391,835).
"It's good to go back again," said Cano, who is hitting a team-high .296 with 15 homers and 57 RBIs in 87 games. "I would say it's every player's dream. You want to come play on a team that wins, and can go there and have fun."
And Cano may have his most fun participating in Monday's State Farm Home Run Derby, selected by team captain David Ortiz of the Red Sox.
Cano has entertained the Yankees over the last few seasons with his impressive power displays during batting practice. He has tabbed his father, former Major Leaguer Jose Cano, to toss his pitches in Monday's event.
"It means a lot to me," Cano said. "He's the kind of guy that's always there for me, not just as a dad but as a friend. Who better than him to be here today throwing BP?"
Tied for the team lead with 25 homers and driving in 63 runs to go along with a .269 batting average, Granderson is making his second All-Star appearance and first as a fan-elected starter, having claimed 6,683,887 votes.
AL STARTING NINE
Rangers manager Ron Washington announced Granderson as his leadoff hitter for Tuesday's game, playing center field. He'll thus get the first cracks at Phillies ace Roy Halladay, named the NL's starter.
"That'll be cool, to get a chance to start the game off, especially since we'll be the visiting team," Granderson said. "I know he's a guy that throws a lot of strikes. I'm looking to match the aggression, but it's going to be fun."
A first-time AL All-Star after two appearances with the NL, Martin led at every checkpoint in the fan balloting before being overtaken by the Tigers' Alex Avila in the final week, 4,144,384 to 3,646,033.
Martin said that he would have felt a little uneasy if Avila hadn't made a late surge. After a red-hot April, Martin chugged into the All-Star break batting just .220 with 10 homers and 36 RBIs, but was selected on the players' ballot.
"It's definitely an honor. When you get voted by the players, it's even more of an honor," Martin said. "Those guys are probably the best critics you can have, guys you play against. I'm definitely enjoying myself right now."
Robertson was announced Sunday as a replacement for Price, a decision that the Yankees cheered widely.
"I know I was stoked," Martin said. "The consistency that he's had, he's been dominating since the beginning of the year. He has a ton of [strikeouts]. Eighth-inning guys, those guys don't get that much love, and he deserves it. I'm really happy for him."
Robertson wrapped up the first half with a 2-0 record and a 1.27 ERA over 35 1/3 innings in his fourth season. His ERA is second-lowest among all Major Leaguers with at least 35 innings pitched. Robertson also has 56 strikeouts, tops among American League relievers.
Told by Yankees manager Joe Girardi in the first inning Sunday that he needed to change his travel plans, Robertson scrambled and boarded a flight with his wife, Erin, from Newark to Chicago early on Monday, connecting en route to Phoenix.
The late arrival gave Robertson little time to do much other than shower before arriving at the All-Star media availability on Monday, though he certainly wasn't complaining about losing what he thought would be a few days of fishing and sitting by the pool.
"I was just really excited," Robertson said. "I had a big grin on my face. I was like, 'All right, I'll change [my plans]! When's my flight?'"