Giancarlo Stanton is not only going to his first All-Star Game and taking part in the Home Run Derby, but was informed by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny that he’ll be in the starting lineup as the National League designated hitter.
Despite all that, Stanton was not a happy man Sunday.
The reason? He’s the only Marlin picked for the N.L. team. Neither Casey McGehee nor Henderson Alvarez, two players some felt were deserving of an All-Star spot, were picked by either the fans, players or Matheny to be on the team.
“I’m pretty mad,” Stanton said. “It still doesn’t make any sense. I know people get gypped every year from it. But this is my first case of being together and seeing the dominance that [McGehee] has been.”
Fans voted the Brewers’ Aramis Ramirez to be the N.L.’s starting third baseman while the Reds’ Todd Frazier was picked by the players as the reserve third baseman.
But what is likely to irk Marlins fans is that Matheny used one of the picks available to him on Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter, who has not had as strong of a season statistically as McGehee has had. Matheny sought out McGehee during pre-game batting practice Sunday and explained his decision.
“He just said it was a tough decision and he had to go in a different direction with it,” McGehee said of his conversation with Matheny. “I’m sure it’s a lot harder decision to make when you’re the one that actually has to put your name on it. So I can respect that. And I did truly appreciate him coming over. I could tell he was genuine in what he was saying. That meant a lot to me.”
There is still an outside shot McGehee makes the team. He is one of five players on the “Final Vote” ballot. Whoever receives the most votes by fans in the online voting at MLB.com will win the 34th — and last roster spot. But given how poorly the Marlins’ third baseman fared in the general voting for the All-Star Game (he didn’t even finish in the top five vote-getters among N.L. third baseman) it’s hard to envision him coming out on top for the final spot.
“He shouldn’t have to hope for the last spot,” Stanton said. “It’s not something he needs to promote himself to get there now. It’s something that shouldn’t be an unfair situation. If you perform the best, you should be there.”
McGehee, who had a pair of singles and walked twice on Sunday, leads the league in hits and hitting with runners in scoring position. He also leads N.L. third basemen in RBI and batting average. But he’s also hit just one home run, and his WAR (wins against replacement) ranks fifth among N.L third baseman.
Not even Stanton, who has had arguably one of the top first halves of any player in the majors, received enough support in the fan voting to receive the start as one of the N.L.’s three outfielders. He finished fourth in the voting.
But Stanton said Matheny told him he would be in the lineup as the DH.
“Starting is starting,” Stanton said.
Red tagging along
Mike Redmond was never an All-Star as a player. But thanks to Stanton, he’ll get a taste of the All-Star experience next week in Minneapolis. Stanton chose Redmond to pitch to him in the Home Run Derby.
Redmond normally throws batting practice to Stanton.
“I was honored when he came and asked me,” Redmond said. “Of course I want to be there.”
Redmond, a catcher throughout his major league career, laughed when it was mentioned he would be going to his first All-Star game as a pitcher.
“I know when I retired, I didn’t think I ever had a vision of throwing batting practice to someone in the Home Run Derby,” he said. “I’m going to enjoy the experience as much as anybody else. I’m going to have my kids and wife there.”
Stanton said he chose Redmond because of his familiarity with him.
“I didn’t want it to be someone I know is good but I haven’t hit off them in 3 1/2 months. I don’t like that,” Stanton said.
Stanton said he also considered having his father pitch to him.
“I thought about that, too,” he said. “But I haven’t hit off him forever, and I don’t know if he would be nervous doing that.”
The last time Stanton competed in a Home Run Derby was as a minor-leaguer in 2008, and he lost to a prospect named Michael Burgess. While Stanton blossomed into one of the top sluggers in the majors, Burgess remains at the Single A level in the Orioles’ organization.
COMING UP• Monday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (6-6, 3.48) at Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Chase Anderson (5-4, 3.91), 9:40 p.m., Chase Field.
• Tuesday: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (0-1, 6.21) at Diamondbacks (to be announced), 9:40 p.m., Chase Field.