Advertisement

Rays’ Yandy Diaz, Randy Arozarena voted starters on AL All-Star team

The infielder and outfielder have been instrumental in Tampa Bay’s majors-best start to the season.
 
Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz (2) is congratulated by leftfielder Randy Arozarena, right, after Diaz hit a two-run home run during a game against the Detroit Tigers in April at Tropicana Field.
Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz (2) is congratulated by leftfielder Randy Arozarena, right, after Diaz hit a two-run home run during a game against the Detroit Tigers in April at Tropicana Field. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published June 29, 2023|Updated June 30, 2023

PHOENIX — In compiling the best record in the majors through the first three months of the season, the Rays have raved regularly about how important Yandy Diaz and Randy Arozarena have been to their success.

Fans around the world apparently noticed as well, as both were voted into starting spots in the American League lineup for the July 11 All-Star Game in Seattle.

Diaz was voted in ahead of Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first base, with a 53%-47% edge (totals for the runoff round were not announced). Arozarena, with 21%, was second to the Angels’ Mike Trout (23%) in the trio of starting outfielders. The group also includes the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (19%), who has been injured and may not be available.

Both Diaz and Arozarena said they are excited and appreciative.

“I’m very happy,” Diaz said through team interpreter Manny Navarro. “I never expected to ever be in an All-Star Game. But I’m very happy.”

Rays infielder Yandy Diaz is hitting .318 with 12 homers, 38 RBIs and a .922 OPS.
Rays infielder Yandy Diaz is hitting .318 with 12 homers, 38 RBIs and a .922 OPS. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Said Arozarena, also via Navarro: “I feel good. I’m very happy. It’s something that a lot of players strive to do and have a goal is to make the All-Star Game. And I think with all the hard work we’ve been putting in, I think it’s shown that I think we deserve it. I think it’s going to be exciting.”

Only six Rays players previously had been voted All-Star starters, and this marks only the second time in the franchise’s 26-season history that it has had more than one in the same season.

“Certainly, quite the honor for the organization and very representative of this specific team of being a very good team to be where we’re at right now,” manager Kevin Cash said. “You’ve got to have some All Star performances, and with more than one it’s pretty telling of where we stand right row.”

Rays leftfielder Randy Arozarena is batting .286 with 145 homers, 54 RBIs and an .876 OPS.
Rays leftfielder Randy Arozarena is batting .286 with 145 homers, 54 RBIs and an .876 OPS. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

The other time two Rays position players were in the lineup was 2010, when Evan Longoria was voted to start at third base and Carl Crawford in leftfield.

“They are a couple of the best players to ever be a part of this franchise, and it’s good to be listed in the same categories as them,” said Diaz, who is hitting .318 with 12 homers, 38 RBIs and a .922 OPS.

There actually were three Rays on the field to start the 2010 game, as David Price was picked to start on the mound. That situation potentially could repeat itself, as Rays lefty Shane McClanahan seems likely to be chosen for the team and could earn a second straight All-Star start.

Other Rays voted to start were designated hitter Jose Canseco (1999), Longoria (2009), DH Corey Dickerson (2017) and catcher Wilson Ramos (2018). Canseco, Longoria and Ramos couldn’t play due to injury.

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter

We’ll send you news and analysis on the Bucs, Lightning, Rays and Florida’s college football teams every day.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Arozarena, hitting .286 with 14 homers, 54 RBIs and an .876 OPS, said the support from the fans means a lot.

“It feels good,” he said. “They really value everything that I’ve done, all the hard work and energy that I bring out. This means a lot to them as well. It’s something for them. The relationship I have formed, the support that they always give me, it feels good that they’re really responding the way they have and because of all the work I’ve been doing — this is for them.”

McClanahan is expected to be named to the team on Sunday, when the list of pitchers and reserves, chosen primarily through voting by players, are announced. Shortstop Wander Franco, infielder Isaac Paredes, outfielder Josh Lowe and starting pitcher Zach Eflin are other possible additions, either Sunday or when replacements for injured players are announced later.

• • •

Sign up for the Sports Today newsletter to get daily updates on the Bucs, Rays, Lightning and college football across Florida.

Never miss out on the latest with your favorite Tampa Bay sports teams. Follow our coverage on Twitter and Facebook.