Ohtani a 2-way All-Star again; 6 Yankees, 5 Braves, Astros

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK —  In a city of stars, the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw will be in the spotlight July 19 at Dodger Stadium.

“I think it’s been a couple of years since I got to compete in an All-Star Game, and something about Dodger Stadium, too, is special,” Kershaw said after pitchers and reserves were announced Sunday. “I don’t take that for granted. Like I said before, I hope I didn’t take anybody’s spot that was more deserving than me, but now that it’s official and I get to do it, I am very excited about it.”

A year after he became the first two-way All-Star, Ohtani was picked for the American League pitching staff as a Major League Baseball selection, two days after he was elected by fans to start at designated hitter.

Kershaw, 6-2 with a 2.40 ERA, and pitcher Tony Gonsolin were chosen from the host Dodgers, joining starting outfielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Trea Turner. Kershaw was picked by MLB and is a favorite to open on the mound for the NL, which has lost eight straight All-Star Games and 20 of the last 23 played to a decision.

“I’m going to try to take it all in as best I can,” said the 34-year-old left-hander, a three-time Cy Young Award winner. “As the years go by, you start to appreciate things a bit more, so every time I get to pitch at Dodger Stadium, every time we get a win, every time something significant happens, I try to take it in a little bit more now.”

Pitchers Clay Holmes, Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes made the AL team from the Yankees along with catcher Jose Trevino, giving New York six All-Stars for the first time since 2011. Outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were elected to start.

Defending AL champion Houston has five All-Stars, with pitchers Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez, outfielder Kyle Tucker and designated hitter Yordan Alvarez selected along with starting second baseman Jose Altuve. Alvarez went on the injured list Sunday because of right hand inflammation.

World Series champion Atlanta also has five. Pitcher Max Fried, catcher Travis d'Arnaud, shortstop Dansby Swanson and DH William Contreras joined outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., who was elected by fans.

Contreras will be the NL’s DH in place of Philadelphia’s Bryce Harper, who was elected to start but broke his left thumb on June 25.

Contreras joins Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras as the first brothers in the same All-Star Game since Aaron and Bret Boone in 2003. They will be just the fifth brothers to start in an All-Star Game after Mort and Walker Cooper in 1942 and ’43, Dixie and Harry Walker in 1947, Joe and Dom DiMaggio in 1949 and Roberto and Sandy Alomar Jr. in 1992.

The New York Mets, St. Louis and Toronto have four All-Stars.

Seattle outfielder Julio Rodriguez was the lone rookie picked and at 21 is the youngest of this year’s All-Stars. There are 30 first-time All-Stars and Rodriguez, who debuted on April 8, is among 10 age 24 or younger.

Ohtani, the reigning AL MVP, is hitting .260 with 19 homers and 59 RBIs and is 8-4 with a 2.44 ERA, 111 strikeouts and 20 walks in 81 innings. He has won five consecutive starts and is coming off a Wednesday outing at Miami when he became the first player in major league history to strike out 10 batters, drive in two runs and steal a base.

In the AL’s 5-2 win last year at Colorado, Ohtani pitched a 1-2-3 first inning by retiring Fernando Tatis Jr., Max Muncy and Nolan Arenado, and grounded out twice.

Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera is the senior All-Star with 12 selections and St. Louis DH Albert Pujols is second with 11, both picks of baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred under a provision for career achievements in the new collective bargaining agreement.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is next with 10, followed by Kershaw and Verlander with nine apiece. Trout was picked for the ninth straight time.

AL pitchers elected by players included Cleveland’s Emmanuel Clase, Baltimore’s Jorge Lopez, Toronto’s Alek Manoah and Tampa Bay’s Shane McClanahan along with Cole, Cortes, Holmes and Verlander.

NL pitchers picked by players were Miami’s Sandy Alcantara, Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader, the Mets’ Edwin Diaz, St. Louis’ Ryan Helsley and San Diego’s Joe Musgrove along with Fried and Gonsolin.

AL position players chosen by colleagues were Minnesota infielder Luis Arraez, Cleveland second baseman Andres Gimenez and third baseman Jose Ramirez, Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielders Byron Buxton of Minnesota and George Springer of Toronto along with Alvarez, Trevino and Tucker.

NL backups selected by players were Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, second baseman Jeff McNeil and outfielder Starling Marte, St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado and outfielders Kyle Schwarber of Philadelphia and Ian Happ of the Chicago Cubs along with d’Arnaud, William Contreras and Swanson.

MLB called in seven AL players, with Ohtani, Rodriguez and Valdez joined by pitchers Paul Blackburn of Oakland, Gregory Soto of Detroit and Martin Perez of Texas along with Kansas City outfielder Andrew Benintendi.

MLB’s NL choices included Pittsburgh’s David Bednar, Cincinnati’s Luis Castillo, Arizona’s Joe Mantiply and Kershaw for the pitching staff along with Colorado first baseman C.J. Cron and Washington outfielder Juan Soto.

At least one player must be included from all 30 teams. Twenty-eight All-Stars were born outside the 50 states.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.