THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
CINCINNATI - Three players from the Cincinnati Reds and two from the Cleveland Indians will need to book flights to Arizona for next week.
Both teams each landed multiple players on the All-Star Game rosters, which were announced yesterday. The game will be played on July 12 in Phoenix at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Reds manager Dusty Baker broke the good news to his All-Stars before yesterday's game against the Indians. Representing Cincinnati as reserves for the National League are first baseman Joey Votto, second baseman Brandon Phillips and right fielder Jay Bruce.
Votto and Phillips will be making their second appearance after playing in the game last summer.
In the Indians' clubhouse, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and closer Chris Perez were included on the American League roster, each for the first time.
"The way you go about your business and your profession goes a long way to how players and coaches will think of you," he said.
The right fielder acknowledged his excitement over his selection to the game, and so did Votto.
"I was probably more happy about Jay getting in than myself," said Votto, the reining NL MVP. Votto leads the league in on-base percentage to go with a .313 batting average and 12 home runs.
Phillips is hitting.295 while playing strong defense - he has committed just two errors this season.
The Reds have struggled as of late, sitting at 43-42 and in fourth place in the NL Central. The All-Star break could revitalize the team heading into the second half, Baker said.
"Hopefully they go there and come back feeling like All-Stars, bring that back to our team," Baker said of his team's three representatives. "Bring back that feeling of being an All-Star and that feeling of being in more of a leadership role."
The Indians haven't been immune to struggles, either. Cabrera, who will be a reserve on the AL team, has provided some pop to a run-starved lineup. He has 14 home runs and a .291 average.
Cleveland's strength this season is still the pitching staff, and no player has represented that better than Perez, manager Manny Acta said.
"I don't think many closers have been as good as Chris Perez dating back to the second half of last year," Acta said. "What's been more impressive about Chris is he has had a lot of one-run saves. He has got a lot of one-run saves with the heart of the order up, and those are legit."
Perez has converted 19 of 20 save opportunities, 12 coming when Cleveland led by one run.