Mariners notebook: Cano and Hernandez picked as AL All-Stars

Staff writerJuly 6, 2014 

— The All-Star selections became official Sunday but, as far as the Mariners are concerned — let’s just say they hope those selections remain incomplete.

Here’s what is known:

Robinson Cano won the fan vote and will be the American League’s starting second baseman for a fifth straight season. It’s his sixth overall selection and, of course, his first as a Mariner.

Right-hander Felix Hernandez was selected for the fifth time in his career and stands a good chance of being the starting pitcher for the July 15 game at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Here’s what is possible:

Closer Fernando Rodney and third baseman Kyle Seager loom as replacement candidates for injured/unavailable players as the AL roster shakes out over the next few days.

“Both of them (are deserving),” Cano said. “With Seager, you just look at the numbers he has. And Rodney, he’s leading the league in saves. Let’s see what happens. We’ve got, what, another week? A lot of things can happen.”

The teams for both leagues were announced Sunday night by ESPN. The final player for each 34-player roster will be determined in an online vote this week from a list of five candidates in each league.

Cano is the first Mariners player voted into the starting lineup since outfielder Ichiro Suzuki in 2010. Cano’s previous All-Star appearances came while playing for the New York Yankees.

“It’s special,” he said. “You can tell the fans who voted for me that it’s something where I’m always going to be excited. It’s something that I’m always going to have in my heart.

“Now I’m with another team, but they’ve been watching and appreciating what I’m doing here.”

Hernandez’s fifth selection matches Randy Johnson for the most in franchise history by a pitcher.

Should Hernandez be selected as the starting pitcher, he would join Johnson as the only Mariners pitchers to do so. Johnson started the 1995 and 1997 games.

“That’s not my decision,” Hernandez said. “If they say yes, I will. It’s always exciting to be part of the All-Star Game. You’ll never forget about (those moments). It’s always fun.”

Rodney was an All-Star in 2012 with Tampa Bay. Seager has never been selected.

“It’s not something I can control,” Seager said. “The good thing is we’ve been playing really good baseball. So it’s something I don’t have to worry about. We’ve got a good thing going here. That takes up all of your thoughts.”

Rotation shuffle

McClendon offered a simple, direct explanation for his decision to give Hernandez an extra day of rest before his next start.

“I wanted to line up my best pitcher against (division-leading) Oakland,” McClendon said. “It made sense to make that adjustment, and it also gives him an extra day. All the stars lined up. It just made sense to do that.”

Hernandez will now start Friday’s series opener against the A’s instead of Thursday’s game against Minnesota. McClendon was far cagier in revealing what stars lined up for Thursday’s game.

“That’s yet to be determined,” he said. “I’ll let you know when I know. We have options. I’ll let you know when I figure out what they are.”

The switch left Hernandez nonplussed.

“I’ve just got to go out there and do my job,” he said. “That’s all I’ve got to do.”

McClendon said he had pondered such a switch for Hernandez “for four weeks.” He also said the change takes into account Hernandez possibly pitching, or even starting, in the All-Star Game.

The Mariners resume play after the All-Star break against second-place Los Angeles in Anaheim, Calif. Hernandez will, presumably, start one of those games.

“I’d be foolish if I didn’t want Felix facing Oakland and Anaheim,” McClendon said. “It just makes sense.”

Minor details

Outfielder Alex Jackson, the Mariners’ first-round pick, is off to a fast start at Peoria in the Arizona Rookie League. He went 2-for-5 with three RBIs in Saturday’s 10-3 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Jackson, 18, is 11-for-32 (.344) through eight games with a .389 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage.

Outfielder Gareth Morgan, the club’s second pick, had his first multi-hit game in Peoria’s victory. He is 6-for-25 (.240) in eight games but has eight walks for a .441 on-base percentage.

Looking back

It was 20 years ago Monday — July 7, 1994 — that Randy Johnson became the Mariners’ all-time leader in victories by getting his 75th in a 4-3 victory at Boston.

Johnson surpassed Mark Langston, who had 74 victories from 1984-89.

Jamie Moyer now holds the franchise record with 145 victories from 1996-2006. Johnson ranks second with 130 from 1989-97. Hernandez is third with 120 in a career that began in 2005.

On tap

The Mariners open a seven-game homestand Monday with the first of four games against Minnesota at Safeco Field. The pre-break schedule concludes next weekend with three games against Oakland.

Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (6-4 with a 3.33 ERA) will face Minnesota righty Kevin Correia (4-10, 4.95) at 7:10 p.m. Monday in the series opener. Root Sports will carry the game.

Short hops

White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie left the game after getting hit in the right knee by a pitch from Dominic Leone in the fifth inning…Umpiring crew chief Dana DeMuth, who was at second base, left the game after bumping into White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham in the fourth inning…Leone and Brandon Maurer each pitched two hitless innings. This was the ninth time in Mariners history that they lost a game while allowing two or fewer hits…The Mariners were shut out for the 10th time this season…The Mariners lowered their league-leading bullpen ERA to 2.47…Prior to Saturday’s 3-2 victory, the Mariners had never had a game when they permitted four or fewer hits in 14 or more innings.

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @TNT_Mariners

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