HOUSTON — After a one-year absence, Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano is heading back to the All-Star Game. And for now, at least, he’ll be the only Mariner on the American League roster.
Cano was picked as reserve for the American League roster Tuesday when Major League Baseball revealed all but two of 68 players selected for the July 12 game at Petco Park in San Diego.
"It’s one of those things where you’re always excited," Cano said. "For me, it’s going to mean a lot more this year because I’m going to be able to bring my son. It’s going to be a great moment, just having my son there."
The 34th spot on each roster will be determined this week through the annual Final Vote process. Fans will determine the selection through an online vote from a choice of five players in each league.
There are no Mariners among the AL’s Final Vote candidates, although Toronto outfielder Michael Saunders, a former Mariner, is one of the five.
"From watching it every day," manager Scott Servais said, "I appreciate how talented (Cano) is. And he’s taken on a much bigger leadership role — and I’ve asked him to (do so) — from the first day of spring training."
This is Cano’s seventh overall All-Star selection in a 12-year career.
Nelson Cruz, 36, ranks as the Mariners’ most notable omission after being the AL’s starting designated hitter in the two previous seasons. Boston’s David Ortiz, in his final season, was a runaway winner this year for the honor.
Cruz carried a .280 average into Tuesday’s game with 21 homers and 56 RBIs, which put him on pace for a third straight 40-homer season.
Third baseman Kyle Seager, an All-Star in 2014, also failed to make the roster despite being on pace to set career highs in numerous offensive categories. He was batting .274 through Monday with 16 homers and 54 RBIs.
Cruz and Seager remain possible candidates for selection if injuries, as often happens, force a need to find replacements.
"They both have the numbers to go," Cano said, "but it’s not over yet. We’ve got another week. It would be fun. It’s always good to have a teammate (on the All-Star team)."
Cano will have a former Mariners teammate on the AL squad in Baltimore outfielder Mark Trumbo, who was picked as a reserve.
The National League squad includes Miami reliever Fernando Rodney, an All-Star in 2014 with the Mariners, and Los Angeles shortstop Corey Seager, the younger brother of Kyle Seager.
Cano, 33, was voted by the fans as the AL’s starting second baseman for five straight years from 2010-14 before slumping badly last season, when he battled injuries, and not making the club.
"I would say I didn’t have to prove anything to myself," he said. "Everybody knows that I was hurt. Sometimes, the comments are not valid because there are people who don’t know and don’t care if you’re hurt or not.
"They think you’re a machine. They think because you get paid a lot of money, you have to go out there and perform.
"We all want to do that. I wish every time I go to the plate that I’d hit a homer. I would like to retire as the guy with the most home runs, but it’s not going to happen.
"Even when I was in New York, a lot of people decided I was lazy. But I know how I work and how I prepare myself. I think a lazy guy wouldn’t be able to play that many games every year.
Cano answered critics through a a strong rebound season; he entered Tuesday with a .303 average along with 19 home runs and 54 RBIs. He finished second in the fan balloting to Houston’s Jose Altuve, who also started last year’s game.
"I love watching him," Cano said. "He’s a guy who doesn’t need to hit the ball hard to get a base-hit. You see yesterday, he barely hit it past the pitcher, and he got two hits. That’s a guy who is really fun to watch, and he’s there every day.
"That’s something I really like about him. He’s there every day, and you never hear him complain about anything. The numbers he’s putting up are unbelievable. The numbers the last two years, he’s been raking.
"Everyone knows he’s a second baseman, but anyone would love to have that kind of season."
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners
MARINERS ALL-STAR SELECTIONS
1977: OF Ruppert Jones.
1978: SS Craig Reynolds.
1979: 1B Bruce Bochte and manager Darrell Johnson (as a coach).
1980: LHP Rick Honeycutt.
1981: OF Tom Paciorek.
1982: LHP Floyd Bannister.
1983: LHP Matt Young.
1984: 1B Alvin Davis.
1985: OF Phil Bradley.
1986: 3B Jim Presley.
1987: LHP Mark Langston and 2B Harold Reynolds.
1988: 2B Harold Reynolds.
1989: OF Jeffrey Leonard.
1990: OF Ken Griffey Jr., LHP Randy Johnson and manager Jim Lefebvre (as a coach).
1991: OF Ken Griffey Jr.
1992: OF Ken Griffey Jr., and 3B Edgar Martinez.
1993: OF Ken Griffey Jr., and LHP Randy Johnson.
1994: OF Ken Griffey Jr., and LHP Randy Johnson.
1995: OF Ken Griffey Jr., LHP Randy Johnson, DH Edgar Martinez and 1B Tino Martinez.
1996: OF Jay Buhner, OF Ken Griffey Jr., DH Edgar Martinez, SS Alex Rodriguez and C Dan Wilson.
1997: 2B Joey Cora, OF Ken Griffey Jr., LHP Randy Johnson, DH Edgar Martinez and SS Alex Rodriguez.
1998: OF Ken Griffey Jr., and SS Alex Rodriguez.
1999: OF Ken Griffey Jr.
2000: DH Edgar Martinez, SS Alex Rodriguez, RHP Aaron Sele and manager Lou Piniella (as a coach).
2001: 2B Bret Boone, OF Mike Cameron, 1B John Olerud, DH Edgar Martinez, OF Ichiro Suzuki, RHP Freddy Garcia, RHP Jeff Nelson, RHP Kazuhiro Sasaki and manager Lou Piniella (as a coach).
2002: OF Ichiro Suzuki, RHP Freddy Garcia and RHP Kazuhiro Sasaki.
2003: 2B Bret Boone, OF Ichiro Suzuki, DH Edgar Martinez, LHP Jamie Moyer and RHP Shigetoshi Hasegawa.
2004: OF Ichiro Suzuki.
2005: OF Ichiro Suzuki.
2006: 2B Jose Lopez and OF Ichiro Suzuki.
2007: RHP J.J. Putz and OF Ichiro Suzuki.
2008: OF Ichiro Suzuki.
2009: OF Ichiro Suzuki, RHP Felix Hernandez and manager Don Wakamatsu (as a coach).
2010: OF Ichiro Suzuki.
2011: RHP Felix Hernandez, RHP Michael Pineda and RHP Brandon League.
2012: RHP Felix Hernandez.
2013: RHP Felix Hernandez and RHP Hisashi Iwakuma.
2014: 2B Robinson Cano, RHP Felix Hernandez, RHP Fernando Rodney and 3B Kyle Seager.
2015: DH Nelson Cruz, RHP Felix Hernandez and manager Lloyd McClendon (as a coach).
2016: 2B Robinson Cano.