Kevin Youkilis, Jhonny Peralta named to AL All-Star team

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The replacements for Alex Rodriguez (knee) and Derek Jeter (calf) are in, and they are the expected names.  Kevin Youkilis and Jhonny Peralta will take the open spots at third base and shortstop on the AL squad.

Adrian Beltre and Asdrubal Cabrera will replace Rodriguez and Jeter in the starting lineup.

Youkilis leads all major league third basemen with an .884 OPS this season.  He’s hit .275 with 12 homers and 59 RBI for the Red Sox, who moved one game ahead of A-Rod’s Yankees for first place in the AL East by beating Baltimore tonight.

Peralta has hit .313/.364/.533 for an .897 OPS that leads AL shortstops.  He’s homered 14 times and driven in 50 runs for a Tigers team that has pulled with a half-game of the Indians for first place in the AL Central.

So, the American League got these two right after the foolish choice of Jordan Walden as Mariano Rivera’s replacement and the NL’s decision to pick Andre Ethier over Andrew McCutchen in replacing Shane Victorino.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.