Cruz, Jones, Wieters voted All-Star starters

Out for year, O's catcher to attend game; KC's Perez to fill in behind plate

Cruz, Jones, Wieters voted All-Star starters

BOSTON -- The Orioles will once again be well-represented at this year's All-Star Game, with Nelson Cruz,  Adam Jones and Matt Wieters all selected as American League starters during Sunday night's Taco Bell All-Star Selection Show on ESPN.

It marks the second consecutive year the O's have had three players voted in, which had previously never happened. Of the trio of new All-Stars, Cruz and Wieters were named starters for the first time, with Jones -- now a four-time All-Star -- starting for the second consecutive year.

"It says something about our fans. They're doing their part," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Baltimore's solid showing again at this year's Midsummer Classic. "They did a good job supporting our guys, but you don't get this without national support. It's tough to keep guys like this under the radar because they're too good. It's not that we're trying to. We like the fact that other people around the country are getting something that we already knew."

Wieters, who played in just 26 games before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month, plans on still attending despite not being able to participate. Wieters led the fan balloting among catchers for the duration of the voting, and he will be replaced in the starting lineup by the Royals' Salvador Perez.

"Every Monday when it came out, we'd check it out," Wieters, who is rehabbing at his Atlanta home, said of monitoring the votes. "When you know what kind of fans the Orioles have, you can see how it can happen. When you have a fan base that's as loyal to the team as any other, it speaks a lot for them more than anything else, to be able to get multiple guys in it and get a player who only played for a month in the All-Star Game."

Cruz was second in the first week of voting, but he passed Red Sox slugger David Ortiz for a top spot he never relinquished. The veteran, signed to a one-year deal by Baltimore this offseason, has been remarkable for the O's and entered Sunday's game tied for the Major League lead in homers with 27.

Cruz's remarkable first half, including a career-high five hits Saturday night, helped solidify his third career All-Star bid. The 10-year veteran is on pace to hit more than 50 homers.

"It's always a blessing when you're an All-Star," Cruz said. "I'm happy where I am and I know that I made the right decision to be a part of this team."

Cruz reminded reporters that other teammates such as Nick Markakis deserved to go, but the O's will have a familiar face in Jones. The 28-year-old has made it no secret that he wanted to be an All-Star, and he entered Sunday's game batting .309 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs, trailing only Cruz on the club.

"That's how you want to play the game. If you believe that you're one of the one ... think that you're one of the top players in the game or represent yourself at a certain caliber, then you always want to play at that caliber," Jones said. "It's just the caliber I want to play in, and I think that's the caliber of baseball that this organization holds me accountable for."

Nelson Cruz, DH
Prior ASGs: 2009, '13
ASG W-L: 2-0
ASG stats: 0-for-1
How he made 2014 AL team: Fan selection
Why he's an All-Star: An early AL MVP Award candidate, Cruz has already matched last season's home run total at 27.
DYK?: Cruz, a late bloomer, did not make the Rangers' Major League roster before the 2008 season and cleared waivers. A year later, he was at the All-Star Game.
Quotable: "I'd like to say how smart we are, and we knew the market and all that stuff, but let's face it, it kind of fell in there a little bit," Showalter said of the organization signing Cruz to a one-year deal. "Nelson's been solid. He's been a good teammate. He's taken everything that's come his way with a lot of class. ... I think it's a nice reward for him."

Matt Wieters, C
Prior ASGs: 2011, '12
ASG W-L: 0-2
ASG stats: 0-for-3
How he made 2014 AL team: Fan selection
Why he's an All-Star: Wieters was on pace to have a career year offensively before he got injured.
DYK?: A former fifth overall pick, Wieters is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner who was also a college pitcher at Georgia Tech.
Quotable: "I think when the fans vote you in, it's your duty to go," Wieters said on attending despite his injury. "It's a fun event, it's a great event. MLB does a great job of putting it on, and I'm able to go and support other teammates, which is always fun, to watch your own guys play in that game. And there's no better seat than in the dugout."

Adam Jones, OF
Prior ASGs: 2009, '12-13
ASG W-L: 2-1
ASG stats: 1-for-5, RBI, run
How he made 2014 AL team: Fan selection
Why he's an All-Star: Jones batted .348 with nine homers and 20 RBIs in June.
DYK?: A late surge helped Jones, who was fifth in the second to last AL voting results.
Quotable: "It's a very just reward for the way he goes about his [business]," Showalter said. "[He's] very well respected among other players because he does something none of them can do, which is post up and play hard every day."

Immediately following the announcement of the AL and National League All-Star rosters on Sunday, fans began voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until the winners are announced after the voting concludes on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.

The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans help choose the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.