Mariano Rivera named to All-Star team for 13th time
In a season that's been all about final experiences for Mariano Rivera, he's just notched another: his last All-Star Game selection.
The Yankees closer, who says he will retire after this season, was named to the All-Star Game for the 13th time in his career Saturday. The game will be July 16 at Citi Field.
"You have to enjoy it," Rivera said, "and make sure you make the best of it."
Rivera, who picked up his 29th save in 30 opportunities in a 5-4 win over the Orioles on Saturday, will be joined on the American League roster by Robinson Cano, who was voted in as the starting second baseman.
"I can't tell you how much I appreciate it," Cano said. "There's a lot of great second basemen in the American League, and I am thankful to the fans for voting and appreciating the way that I've been playing this year."
Rivera's setup man, David Robertson, is on the five-player ballot for the final roster spot. Online voting for that spot ends at 4 p.m. Thursday.
"To be able to sit alongside Mariano in that bullpen in his final All-Star Game appearance would be an awfully special moment in my career," Robertson said. "Yankees fans are the best, and I know that they will make every effort to send me to Queens."
If Robertson is not voted in, the Yankees will send only two players to the All-Star Game for the first time since 1993 (Wade Boggs and Jimmy Key).
That the Yankees are guaranteed to send only two players illustrates just how much star power they have missed this season. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have spent the entire season on the disabled list. Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson have played only 23 games between them, and Teixeira is out for the season.
With 13 All-Star selections, Rivera is tied with Jeter and Joe DiMaggio for third all-time among Yankees players. Mickey Mantle was selected as an All-Star in 16 seasons and Yogi Berra was selected in 15 seasons. Both played in more All-Star Games than that because baseball for a time played more than one All-Star Game in a season.
Rivera was especially pleased that his final All-Star Game will be in New York, albeit at the Mets' home.
"They deserve it," Rivera said. "New York fans are the best."
Cano was selected for the fifth time, receiving 5,369,141 votes, easily eclipsing second-place finisher Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox, who received 3,985,087.
It will mark Cano's fourth straight year as a starter, a significant achievement for any player because the voting can represent a popularity contest as much as a reflection of the player's statistics. It was a no-brainer of a choice, though, as Cano is having yet another solid season.
After going 1-for-3 yesterday, he's hitting .293 with an .899 OPS. His 20 home runs put him on a pace to eclipse his career high of 33 home runs, which he set last season.
Cano also is serving as the captain of the AL squad in the Home Run Derby for the second straight season. That competition will be July 15.