American League All-Star voting update: The A’s may finally get a fan-elected starter

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Mind-blowing fact I did not know until I got the press release about the latest update in the All-Star voting: the Oakland A’s have not have a fan-elected starter in the All-Star Game since Jason Giambi was elected in 2000. Fourteen years! I never would’ve guessed that, but facts are facts.

That looks to be ending this year. Josh Donaldson has a pretty significant lead over Adrian Beltre at third base. Moreover, Yoenis Cespedes is breathing down Melky Cabrera’s neck for the third outfield spot and Derek Norris is close behind the injured and inactive Matt Wieters behind the plate. So at least one of these guys will be elected, two should start and, if trends continue, three could be elected by fans.

Hey, they’re the best team in baseball. Why shouldn’t they be well-represented?

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Jim Hickey steps down as Cubs’ pitching coach

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The Cubs announced on Tuesday that Jim Hickey has stepped down as the pitching coach due to personal reasons. The club will begin a search for a replacement.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in a statement, “Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons. We thank Jim for his season with the Cubs and his positive impact on our pitchers. Jim has our full support and we all wish him well.”

Hickey, 57, spent over a decade as a coach in the Rays organization before joining the Cubs for the past season, reuniting with Joe Maddon. The Cubs’ starting staff ranked 10th among all 30 teams with a 3.84 ERA and the bullpen posted an NL-best 3.35 ERA.