Miami Marlins

Alonso, Rizzo lead push by South Florida natives to start in All-Star Game

Oakland Athletics first baseman Yonder Alonso points to the sky after hitting a solo home run off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Mon., May 29, 2017, in Cleveland.
Oakland Athletics first baseman Yonder Alonso points to the sky after hitting a solo home run off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Mon., May 29, 2017, in Cleveland. AP

Yonder Alonso has never been an All-Star.

The 30-year-old former University of Miami and Coral Gables High standout has picked a great time to start performing like one.

Playing in his eighth big league season and for his third team, Alonso is having a career year with the Oakland Athletics and ranks second behind Miguel Cabrera in fan voting to be the American League’s starting first baseman in next month’s All-Star Game at Marlins Park.

Alonso is batting .297 with 34 RBI and a career-high 16 home runs through his first 49 games.

In Tuesday’s balloting results released by league officials, Alonso trailed Cabrera by a little more than 40,000 votes. The voting period ends on June 29 at 11:59 p.m.

The All-Star Game has never been played in South Florida, but several local standouts aside from Alonso are having All-Star caliber seasons and are among the leading vote-getters.

Anthony Rizzo, who starred at Douglas High in Parkland and was named an All-Star and Gold Glove winner last season with the Chicago Cubs, was overtaken for the starting spot at first base in the National League on Monday. Rizzo, 27, ranks second behind the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman (.365, 16 HR, 48 RBI). Rizzo is batting .234 with 13 homers and 34 RBI.

Eric Hosmer, a former standout at Plantation American Heritage and an All-Star last season for the Kansas City Royals who played on Team USA’s World Baseball Classic Gold-medal winning team back in March, is fourth in voting among first basemen in the AL. Hosmer, 27, ranks ninth in the AL in batting average (.315) and has five homers and 21 RBI.

Manny Machado, a former Brito Miami Private standout who has won two Gold Gloves and is a three-time All-Star with the Baltimore Orioles, is struggling at the plate this season with a .214 batting average and 12 homers and 27 RBI. But Machado, 24, still ranks third among vote-getters at third base in the AL behind the Twins’ Miguel Sano and Indians’ Jose Ramirez.

Yasmani Grandal, who played for the University of Miami and Miami Springs High, ranks fifth among catchers in the National League in voting. Grandal, 28, is batting .264 with six homers and 24 RBI.

The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 23 for the NL and 22 for the AL – will be determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the Commissioner’s Office.

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