By Ronald Blum
NEW YORK: The trade that put Jeff Samardzija on a postseason contender cost him a chance to pitch in his first All-Star game.
A day after Samardzija was dealt from the Chicago Cubs to Oakland, a big league-high six Athletics were picked Sunday for the game at Target Field in Minnesota on July 15.
That doesn’t include Samardzija, selected as a National League All-Star. Major League Baseball said he is ineligible to play because of the league switch.
The 29-year-old right-hander, who was 2-7 with a 2.83 ERA and 103 strikeouts for the Cubs, won his American League debut Sunday when he allowed one run in seven innings for a 4-2 victory over Toronto. He will be introduced with the NL players before the All-Star game; still to be decided is whether he wears a Cubs or A’s uniform — or a generic NL jersey.
“I won’t get to pitch, which is a bummer, but that’s all right,” Samardzija said. “I’ll just go through whatever ceremonies they have and just jump over to the AL dugout with an NL jersey on and have some fun with the six other dudes we have over there, which is exciting.”
Oakland, with the best record in the majors, has its most All-Stars since 1975: left-handers Sean Doolittle and Scott Kazmir; catcher Derek Norris; first baseman Brandon Moss; third baseman Josh Donaldson; and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, playing his 20th and final season, was chosen for his 14th All-Star team and will start for the ninth time. He gets reunited with Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano, his former double-play partner in New York.
Among the big names bypassed entirely were slugger David Ortiz and closer Koji Uehara from World Series champion Boston, San Francisco catcher Buster Posey, and Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett.
“I had a chance to talk with David, and he felt the four days of rest might be more advantageous to him,” said Boston skipper John Farrell, the AL manager. “He was a pro about it. He spoke his mind and had a lot of input in the decisions.”
Also elected by fans to start for the AL were Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Donaldson, and outfielders Jose Bautista of Toronto, Adam Jones of Baltimore and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.
Baltimore’s Matt Wieters, sidelined by season-ending elbow surgery on June 17, was elected to start at catcher and will be replaced by Kansas City’s Salvador Perez.
Orioles bopper Nelson Cruz, tied for the major league home run lead with 27, was voted in by fans at designated hitter after serving a 50-game suspension last year for violating baseball’s drug agreement.
The big year could lead to a large contract for Cruz, who left Texas for an $8 million, one-year deal with Baltimore.
“It’s always a blessing when you make the All-Star game,” Cruz said. “I’m happy because I know I made the right decision.”
Elected to the NL starting lineup were Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley, Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramirez and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina along with outfielders Carlos Gomez of Milwaukee, Andrew McCutchen of Pittsburgh and Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, both rookies, were among 26 first-time All-Stars and 24 foreign-born players.