Orioles and Blue Jays lineups, All-Star balloting

suárez pitching white

Jordan Westburg is starting at second base tonight and Connor Norby is out of the lineup after homering last night for his first major league hit.

Norby is the 12th player in club history whose first hit is a home run.

Ramón Urías is playing third base. Kyle Stowers is in left field, Cedric Mullins is in center and Ryan O’Hearn is in right.

Anthony Santander is the designated hitter.

Ryan Mountcastle homered twice last night and is 29-for-91 (.319) with seven doubles, eight home runs, 26 RBIs and a 1.044 OPS in 24 career games at Rogers Centre.

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Hays: "I plan on playing before the All-Star Game" (Hicks scratched from Orioles lineup)

Austin Hays white jersey

NEW YORK – Austin Hays is participating in full baseball activities today and is confident that he’ll return to the Orioles’ lineup this weekend in Minnesota.

Hays hasn’t played since bruising his left hip Sunday against the Twins at Camden Yards.

“I’m feeling a lot better today,” he said. “I’m going to go out there for BP and try to go through some throwing from the outfield, take some swings, and see where we’re at. But as far as just moving around and doing day to day stuff, it feels a lot better. A lot of that bad soreness that I had has pushed out of there.”

The day began with Hays learning about his All-Star selection and progressed to a collision with Twins first baseman Donovan Solano in the second inning, leading to removal before the top of the fourth.

Third baseman José Miranda’s throw led Solano into the basepath and Hays turned at the last instant to lessen the impact. He probably made it worse, but his instincts took over.

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Coulombe on Cano: "He always had the talent"

Yennier Cano

NEW YORK - Orioles reliever Yennier Cano smiled through his entire media session Sunday after being chosen to the All-Star Game.

Sitting in front of a microphone shared with interpreter Brandon Quinones, he tried to convey what the news meant to him, how a pitcher who didn’t impress last year or break camp with the team in spring training emerged as a dominant setup man and endearing personality.

Earning an honor that he never dreamed about, let alone having it latch onto his reality. As crazy for him as it seemed to everyone else.

Cano handled a curveball question better than hitters can attack his sinker.

How did he turn into Superman?

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More reactions to Gray's All-Star selection

gray pitches blue

PHILADELPHIA – Josiah Gray is an All-Star. It’s the first time the young right-hander has received the honor.

He will represent the Nationals in the 93rd Midsummer Classic next week in Seattle. Joining him from the organization will be top prospects James Wood and Brady House in the Futures Game.

It’s a significant movement as the Nats’ future will be recognized during the Festivities at T-Mobile Park.

Gray, of course, was a part of the first major trade the Nationals made in 2021 to kickstart this rebuild. Now, almost two years later, he’s a major league All-Star. It’s especially impressive when you look at the ups and downs he endured last year during his first full major league season.

The All-Star honor is very special to Gray individually. But it also means a lot to his teammates and the organization as a whole.

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Gray selected as All-Star for first time

gray w @ PHI

PHILADELPHIA – Josiah Gray stepped into the tunnel outside the Nationals clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park to meet with a small group of reporters. He was wiping his eyes, which were red and watery. An unusual sight when most interviews are done by his locker.

The All-Star treatment.

Gray was named an All-Star for the first time, the Nationals’ lone representative at the 2023 Major League Baseball All-Star Game next week at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. Manager Davey Martinez made the announcement to the team before today’s finale against the Phillies.

"Davey just brought us all in for a team meeting and said he had a quick message for us,” Gray said. “Told us we had one All-Star and it was me. So it was really cool to have that moment. I talked to the guys shortly, got to embrace it."

Each major league team gets at least one representative in each year’s Midsummer Classic. But a lot of attention was surrounding Lane Thomas and Jeimer Candelario as the likely choices for the Nats. But Martinez has mentioned Gray when asked about the All-Star Game over the last few days.

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With trade talk heating up, Soto wins Home Run Derby

soto celebrates derby win

It was Juan Soto’s chance for redemption. After falling to eventual repeat champion Pete Alonso in the semifinals of last year’s Home Run Derby at Coors Field, this year’s event gave the Nationals slugger the chance to be a part of a star-studded field and win it all.

It’s hard to deny Soto twice. And with the eyes of the sporting world focused on Hollywood (including super agent Scott Boras sitting in the front row behind home plate), one of the game’s biggest stars stood on top of it all in more ways than one.

Soto won the 2022 Home Run Derby tonight at Dodger Stadium, beating Mariners rookie Julio Rodríguez 19-18 in the finals. Soto joins Bryce Harper, who beat Kyle Schwarber in an electric finale in 2018 at Nationals Park, as the only Nats players to win the Home Run Derby.

“It feels amazing,” Soto said on the broadcast after the win. “All of the hard work I put in and everything. It just feels amazing.”

After hitting the clinching home run, Soto launched his bat in the air in celebration and was mobbed by his father, Juan Sr., and brother, Elian, other Dominican players from across the major leagues, and Nationals manager Davey Martinez, who joined Soto this week as part of the National League coaching staff.

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Should Soto participate in the Home Run Derby again?

Juan Soto 2021 Home Run Derby swing

We saw this happen last year.

Everyone was panicking because Juan Soto’s overall offensive numbers weren’t up to his superstar standards about one-third of the way through the season. Then around mid-June, he started heating up at the plate and went into the All-Star break as one of the game’s hottest hitters.

People debated whether or not he should participate in the Home Run Derby, an event known for ruining hitters’ swings, after finally rediscovering his rhythm at the plate. But Soto did it anyway, hitting 46 home runs before being eliminated in the semifinals by eventual champion Pete Alonso.

“This is the time of year where I think he does start heating up,” Davey Martinez said of Soto. “I don't know why that is, because he always has his streaks in the beginning when he hits the ball really well. But he's swinging the bat really well right now.”

We’re now seeing almost the same story play out in 2022, which again brings up the question: Should Soto participate in the Home Run Derby?

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Soto named to All-Star Game, Bell left off roster

Soto bloom

ATLANTA – The rules say every team needs at least one representative in the All-Star Game, so despite a disappointing season, we knew there would be at least one Nationals player going to Los Angeles for this year’s Midsummer Classic.

That player is Juan Soto, announced on the “MLB All-Star Selection Show” on ESPN.

“It feels great to be part of it representing the Washington Nationals,” Soto said of his selection after today’s loss to the Braves. “It feels great to be out there and be on the list of all the All-Stars that the Washington Nationals have had in the past. And to be around those guys, it feels great.”

There was a lot of speculation as to whether Soto or Josh Bell or both would join Davey Martinez on Braves manager Brian Snitker’s National League team at Dodger Stadium. Now we know it will just be the left-handed slugging outfielder going to his second straight All-Star Game.

“It means a lot not only for me, but for the organization,” Soto said. “To represent the Washington Nationals out there and knowing that Davey is coming with me is gonna be great. We'll see how fun it's gonna be and how excited we will be.”

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Send Trea Turner to All-Star Game through MLB's Final Vote

Send Trea Turner to All-Star Game through MLB's Final Vote
We now know which Nationals will represent the host city in this year's MLB All-Star Game. Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer and Sean Doolittle have officially been selected to the National League All-Star team and will represent D.C. at Nats Park during the upcoming Midsummer Classic. But there could be one more. While Trea Turner wasn't selected in the initial All-Star ballot, you can still send the Nationals shortstop to the All-Star Game via the Final Vote taking place this week! Why should you...
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Continue to #VoteNats as Harper slips to third, Turner stays in fifth

Continue to #VoteNats as Harper slips to third, Turner stays in fifth
The penultimate National League All-Star balloting update has been released and the Nationals now just have two players ranked in their respective positions: Bryce Harper and Trea Turner. Harper has been going through a highly documented and publicized slump over the last month-plus, but he's made some positive strides over the last week, slashing .300/.423/.600 with six hits (all doubles), three RBIs and five walks over his last six games. He also made headlines over the last few days when he...
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#VoteOrange to send your favorite Orioles to All-Star Game in D.C.

#VoteOrange to send your favorite Orioles to All-Star Game in D.C.
The second American League All-Star voting update was released Tuesday afternoon, and shortstop Manny Machado remains at the top of the ballot for his position. In last week's first ballot update, Machado held a strong lead over the Indians' Francisco Lindor by more than 110,000 votes. This week, the Orioles' three-time All-Star has almost doubled his lead with 671,133 votes to Astros shortstop Carlos Correa's 458,367. Machado is enjoying a fantastic first half, slashing .310/.377/.567 and...
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#VoteNats to send your favorite Nationals to All-Star Game in D.C.

#VoteNats to send your favorite Nationals to All-Star Game in D.C.
We're a month away from the All-Star Game coming to D.C., which means we're getting closer to the announcements of the National League and American League rosters. And the Nationals need your help to ensure the host city is well-represented in the All-Star Game! After leading all NL outfielders in voting last week, Bryce Harper has slipped to second with 1,002,696 votes behind Braves outfielder Nick Markakis' 1,173,653. Harper, a five-time All-Star, currently leads the league with 19 home...
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Send Anthony Rendon to All-Star Game in Final Vote

Send Anthony Rendon to All-Star Game in Final Vote
Entering Sunday before the 2017 All-Star teams were announced, Anthony Rendon was batting .298 with 16 home runs and 60 RBIs, already the most he's had for the first half of a season in his career. His .399 on-base percentage, .555 slugging percentage and .954 OPS led all qualifying National League third baseman. And his 3.4 WAR currently ranks first among all major league third basemen, third overall in the league and fifth in all of baseball. Oh, and have you seen what he can do with his...
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Baker on Ricketts' statement: "We're not playing Todd"

Baker on Ricketts' statement: "We're not playing Todd"
All-Star balloting is set to end tonight one minute before midnight Eastern. The All-Star teams are set to be unveiled at 7 p.m. Eastern Sunday on ESPN. The race for first base in the National League is coming down to the wire and today's opponent is making a late push. The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo trails Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman by only 75,000 votes: Rizzo at 1,915,790, Zimmerman has 1,989,104. Major League Baseball sent out a visualization data map showing where the votes for...
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Trea Turner named to International League postseason All-Star team

Trea Turner named to International League postseason All-Star team
Trea Turner has been named as the starting shortstop on the Triple-A International League postseason All-Star team. The 23-year-old is currently the starting center fielder for the Nationals at the big league level. Here is the release noting the honor from the Syracuse Chiefs: "(Turner) ranked among the top two in the IL in runs (61), triples (8), at-bats (331), stolen bases (25), hits (100), extra-base hits (36) and doubles (22) in 83 games. The 23-year-old still holds the league's...
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Nationals need help in latest All-Star numbers

Nationals need help in latest All-Star numbers
I'm disappointed, Nationals fans. Disappointed in you. Here we sit, only a month away from this year's All-Star Game, and when I look at the current vote totals, no Nationals players are above fifth at their respective position. I'd shake my head if it didn't result in so many typos on my part. Fortunately, there is still time to redeem yourselves and help send your favorite Nationals players to the National League starting lineups for this year's festivities in Kansas City on July...
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