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Latinos Land Eight Spots In All-Star Starting Lineups

Ronald Acuna Jr. (right), working out with Atlanta teammate Ozzie Albies, is an All-Star again. Photo credit: Dan Schlossberg

At least eight Latino stars will start the 2021 All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver July 13.

Four Dominicans, two Venezuelans, and one from Aruba were elected to start in the annual fan vote, along with American-born Nolan Arenado, whose father Fernando is Cuban and mother Millie has Cuban and Puerto Rican roots.

The veteran of the group is Salvador Pérez, catcher of the Kansas City Royals, selected for the seventh time.

Arenado, in his first year with the St. Louis Cardinals after a long tenure with the Colorado Rockies, received his sixth selection, while Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts got his third.

Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. has won election for the second time, while the remaining Latinos in the 2021 lineups are first-timers.

They are shortstop Fernando Tatís Jr. (Padres) in the National League plus American League starters Rafael Devers, third baseman for the Boston Red Sox, and Toronto sluggers Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar Hernández, a first baseman and outfielder, respectively.

Because of the fans’ decisions, the Coors Field classic will resemble the World Baseball Classic.

Tatís Jr., Guerrero Jr., Hernández, and Devers hail from the Dominican Republic; Perez and Acuña Jr. are from Venezuela; and Bogaerts is from Aruba.

Conspicuous by his absence is switch-hitting second baseman Ozzie Albies, a Curacao native who bats third for the Atlanta Braves even though he’s the shortest player in the National League. Generously listed at 5’8″ tall, he delivered a two-homer, seven-RBI night against the New York Mets in Atlanta’s 20-2 win at Truist Park Wednesday night. When play finished Thursday, he was leading the league in runs batted in.

Also omitted from the National League lineup are Puerto Rican stars Yadier Molina, concluding his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, and Javy Báez, a versatile switch-hitting infielder who has starred at both second and shortstop, his current position with the Chicago Cubs.

As he concludes his career, Yadi Molina will be no more than a sub on the NL All-Star team. Credit: Bill Menzel, Latino Sports

Francisco Lindor, another Latino shortstop from Puerto Rico, was also bypassed in the fan vote, which did not select anyone from the front-running New York Mets.

Since pitchers and backups will be announced Sunday, any of those players could be added. It’s also possible that managers Dave Roberts of the National League and Kevin Cash of the American League could name Latino pitchers to start the game. That possibility increased when Jacob deGrom, on his way to a third Cy Young Award, was ruled out because he is scheduled to pitch on the Sunday before the Tuesday game.

With three elected starters, Toronto has more than any other team – an interesting development because the Blue Jays have played no games at home. For the first three months of this season, Ontario’s pandemic restrictions have forced the Jays to play home games at their spring training facility in Dunedin, FL before returning to Sahlen Field in Buffalo, NY, where they played last year.

These are the elected starters:

National League

Catcher: Buster Posey, Giants (7th selection)
First Base: Freddie Freeman, Braves (5th selection)
Second Base: Adam Frazier, Pirates (1st selection)
Third Base: Nolan Arenado, Cardinals (6th selection)
Shortstop: Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres (1st selection)
Outfield: Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves (2nd selection)
Outfield: Nick Castellanos, Reds (1st selection)
Outfield: Jesse Winker, Reds (1st selection)

American League

Catcher: Salvador Perez, Royals (7th selection)
First Base: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays (1st selection)
Second Base: Marcus Semien, Blue Jays (1st selection)
Third Base: Rafael Devers, Red Sox (1st selection)
Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox (3rd selection)
Outfield: Mike Trout, Angels (9th selection)*
Outfield: Aaron Judge, Yankees (3rd selection)
Outfield: Teoscar Hernández, Blue Jays (1st selection)
Designated Hitter: Shohei Ohtani, Angels (1st selection)

*On the 60-day injured list

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