Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays' Zobrist named AL All-Star

ST. PETERSBURG — Baseball's All-Star Game is, like it or not, played to win. And that, more than anything, explains the selection of Ben Zobrist on Saturday as the lone Ray on the American League squad for the July 16 game.

With no Rays voted in by fans or players, it was up to AL/Detroit manager Jim Leyland to pick a Tampa Bay representative. Leyland bypassed third baseman Evan Longoria and starter Matt Moore to pick Zobrist, whose versatility at the plate and on the field makes him a bench asset.

"I think Ben Zobrist is a very, very, very good player," Leyland said in Cleveland. "He happens to be able to play everywhere, and he's a switch-hitter."

Zobrist, who has had an inconsistent season (.264 with five homers and 44 RBIs) said he was confused when summoned to manager Joe Maddon's office before the game against the White Sox and then honored by his second All-Star selection.

"I'm shocked," he said. "I really didn't expect it. It feels great. It's a huge honor to be selected. … I really think of other guys before myself on this team that I feel like are more deserving, but I feel like this is probably one of those cases where my versatility is giving me an opportunity here."

Maddon said he could see why Zobrist was chosen, given the numerous ways he can help a team win, and was pleased with the pick, as much because Zobrist didn't have the obvious stats. "I really love the fact from the perspective that here's a complete ballplayer making the All-Star team; it's not about his batting average," Maddon said.

It was also interesting that Leyland chose Zobrist given last Sunday's game between the teams. Zobrist was hit by a pitch intentionally by Detroit's Rick Porcello, who was later suspended, in retaliation for close Rays pitches to Miguel Cabrera the night before.

"I find a lot of humor in the selection based on that," Zobrist said. "I can't wait to talk to Mr. Leyland and thank him for a couple different things."

Longoria seemed the likely Rays representative based on his statistics: .292 with a team-high 17 homers and 49 RBIs. But it appeared Leyland — who already had two third basemen in starter Cabrera and Manny Machado, and opted for three catchers by adding Jason Castro as the lone Astro — wanted versatility. So he added Cleveland's Jason Kipnis along with Zobrist.

Moore also seemed worthy — he got his 12th win in Saturday's 3-0 shutout of Chicago — but wasn't one of the nine starters picked. He could be added as a replacement. If not, it will be the first time since 2007 only one Ray goes.

Rays' Zobrist named AL All-Star 07/06/13 [Last modified: Sunday, July 7, 2013 1:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 51/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.

  3. Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

    The Heater

    TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) takes a moment on the mound in the second inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, August 6, 2017.
  4. Tim Tebow's slump continues, as does fan support


    CLEARWATER — On July 29, playing against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Tim Tebow smacked a mammoth three-run homer, helping the St. Lucie Mets cruise to a 10-3 victory at Charlotte Sports Park.

    St. Lucie’s Tim Tebow, shown Monday at Spectrum Field, struggled at the plate Wednesday against the Threshers.
  5. Rays at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. Thursday

    The Heater

    Today: at Blue Jays

    4:07, Rogers Centre, Toronto

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Rays info: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (8-7, 3.84)

    JAYS: RH Chris Rowley (1-0, 1.69)