By John Boyle
Felix Hernandez added another accolade to an already impressive career Monday, being named the starting pitcher for the American League in Tuesday’s All-Star game.
Hernandez, who will be appearing in his fifth All-Star game, has also won a Cy Young award and thrown a perfect game, and now he’ll be on the mound to open the All Star game in Minnesota.
“There are many deserving candidates to be the starting pitcher for this team,” Red Sox and American League All-Star manager John Farrell said in a press conference. “But given what he’s done over a long, successful career, what he’s doing this year, it’s an honor to name Felix our starter for tomorrow night.
Farrell, like Hernandez’s many fans in Seattle, referred to the pitcher as “King Felix” in the press conference, the nickname Hernandez was unfairly saddle with while still a teenager pitching in the minor leagues, and has grown into while becoming one of the best pitchers of his generation. Hernandez has an 11-2 ERA this season, a league-best 2.12 ERA and 0.90 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched), and ranks second in the league in strikeouts (154) and innings pitched (144.1).
“It’s just an honor to be here,” Hernandez said. “It’s always fun. I’ve just got to go out there, do what I have to do, just throw zeros out there and help my team win.”
Hernandez becomes the second Mariners pitcher to start an All-Star game, joining Randy Johnson, who did so in 1995 and 1997.
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, who was voted in as the AL’s starting second baseman, will bat third. The full AL lineup is Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Angels left fielder Mike Trout, Cano, Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista, Orioles DH Nelson Cruz, Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones, A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson and Royals catcher Salvador Perez.