Nelson Cruz wins fan election for American League at designated hitter

Cruz is batting .304 with 21 home runs and 50 RBI in 80 games in his first season with the Mariners

SEATTLE, Wash. - Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners has been voted as the starting designated hitter for the American League squad in the 86th Major League Baseball All-Star Game to be played Tuesday, July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

The 2015 American League and National League All-Star starters were unveiled earlier this evening during the "Esurance All-Star Starters Selection Show" on ESPN. Reserves, pitchers and Esurance MLB Final Vote candidates for the 2015 Midsummer Classic will be announced tomorrow night on the "Esurance All-Star Selection Show" on ESPN at 4 pm PT/7 pm ET.

In the AL's tightest race, Nelson Cruz (10,632,184) claimed his fourth All-Star selection (2009, 2013-14) as he held off Kendrys Morales (10,320,500) of the Royals. It marks the second consecutive fan-elected start for Cruz, who claimed the starting assignment last year at Target Field while with Baltimore. Cruz, who joins Edgar Martinez (1997, 2001, 2003) as fan-elected designated hitters in Mariners history, is tied for third in the AL with 21 home runs and ranks fourth with a .555 slugging percentage. Overall, the 35-year-old native of the Dominican Republic is batting .304 with 11 doubles, a triple and 41 runs scored. Cruz ranks first in the Majors with 12 game-winning RBI and is tied with fellow All-Stars Harper and Frazier for first in the Majors with 20 go-ahead RBI on the season.

The 2015 All-Star Game will be played at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday, July 14th at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT. The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.