Despite a disappointing first half of the 2013 season, three members of the Toronto Blue Jays have been recognized for their individual accomplishments.
Outfielder Jose Bautista, first baseman/designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and reliever Brett Cecil were named to the American League All-Star team on Saturday and will represent the Blue Jays at New York’s Citi Field on July 16.
The game will mark Bautista’s fourth all-star appearance, and his third in the starting lineup, after the slugger beat out Baltimore Orioles right-fielder Nick Markakis for the final starting outfield spot in fan voting.
Bautista has 20 home runs and 52 RBIs in 79 games for the Blue Jays, who were big spenders in the off-season but sit last in the AL East with a 42-45 record after Saturday’s 6-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
“It’s a good feeling, my hard work is paying off,” Bautista said. “I just have to keep doing it but ultimately I think my success is going to be dictated by the success of my team and so far we haven’t been able to make it to the playoffs or play for the championship.
“Hopefully that changes in the near future.”
For Encarnacion and Cecil, it’s their first all-star nod after being selected as reserves. The 30-year-old Encarnacion has 23 home runs and 66 RBIs so far in 2013.
“We’re going to try and enjoy it the most I can. I’m very happy to be with Jose and Cecil,” Encarnacion said. “I just think about playing the game the way I have to play — play right and play hard.”
The 27-year-old Cecil has had a stellar season in the bullpen after struggling in recent years as a starter.
“My all-star plans were to stay in Maryland and hang out with the family for four days,” Cecil said. “Obviously those plans have changed a little bit so I’m going to look forward to two days in New York City and two days at home.”
The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.43 earned-run average, while striking out 50 and allowing just seven earned runs through 44 innings.
Cecil also set a new club mark after facing 40 straight batters without allowing a hit and also didn’t allow a run in a career-high 19 2-3 consecutive innings.
“Every guy in that bullpen down there deserves to be on the team,” Cecil said. “I can’t say enough about those guys. They’ve done a heck of a job for the whole season.
“I’m sure glad to represent the Blue Jays and our bullpen in New York City and I hope I represent them well.”
In addition, Blue Jays reliever Steve Delabar has been named as one of the five candidates to fill the last spot on the AL roster. The 29-year-old is 5-1 with a 1.58 ERA and leads all AL relievers in strikeouts this season with 57 through 40 innings.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was earlier named as a coach for the AL squad.