Rizzo, Castro, Bryant headline Cubs on All-Star ballot

Rizzo, Castro, Bryant headline Cubs on All-Star ballot

CHICAGO -- Could Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro be named to the National League All-Star team again for a second consecutive year? Will Dexter Fowler and Chris Coghlan be picked for the first time? And what about top prospect Kris Bryant -- is he All-Star-worthy?

The Cubs have eight players on the All-Star ballot, released on Wednesday. The list includes Rizzo and Castro, who both made the NL team last year, plus Bryant, Fowler, Coghlan, Miguel Montero, Tommy La Stella and Jorge Soler.

Bryant, called up to the big league team on April 17, was surprised to learn he'd been included.

"With 11 games, I don't feel like I've done much to earn that yet," Bryant said. "I play the game to win, not to get those type of awards. It definitely is something pretty cool."

Since going 0-for-4 in his debut, Bryant was batting .378 with a .511 OBP and 10 RBIs in his last 10 games entering Wednesday's action.

"I'm just a lot more relaxed and just another guy in the locker room, honestly," he said. "That's just what I want. I don't want all the attention, and I don't want all that stuff, I just want to come out here and play and help the team win.

"This homestand has been a whole lot different."

Other than Rizzo and Castro, only Montero has been selected to the All-Star team, and that was in 2011 and '14 while he was with the D-backs.

La Stella was placed on the ballot before he was injured. The second baseman played two games before he was sidelined with a strained side. Addison Russell, the Cubs' No. 2 prospect, has now taken over at second while La Stella rehabs.

Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on their computers, tablets and smartphones -- using the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, July 2, at 10:59 p.m. CT. For the first time, voting is exclusively online, where fans may submit up to 35 ballots.

Fans may also receive the ballot by texting VOTE to 89269 (USA) or 101010 (Canada). Or text VOTA for a ballot in Spanish. Message and data rates may apply. Up to five messages. No purchase required. Reply STOP to cancel. Reply HELP for info.

Following the announcement of the 2015 All-Stars, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player for each league's All-Star roster. On Tuesday, July 14, watch the 2015 All-Star Game live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2015 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of All-Star Week festivities.

The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Rizzo was named to the NL team in the Final Vote competition in 2014, while Castro is a three-time All-Star, having played in 2011, '12 and '14.

If Bryant or Soler were to make the NL team, they would be the first Cubs rookies named to the All-Star team since Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome were selected in 2008. Before Soto and Fukudome, the Cubs had not had a rookie chosen for the All-Star Game since Sam "Toothpick" Jones in 1955. The only other Cubs rookies to make the event were Toby Atwell in '52 and Don Johnson in '44.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.