Twins slugger replacing Blue Jays' Bautista on AL roster
By Rhett Bollinger
MINNEAPOLIS -- After a week that saw him crush two walk-off homers as a Final Vote candidate, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is headed to the 2015 MLB All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile in Cincinnati after all.
Dozier, who finished second to Kansas City's Mike Moustakas in the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote, was added to the American League roster to replace Toronto's Jose Bautista. It's the first All-Star selection for Dozier, who is the first Twins second baseman to be named an All-Star since Chuck Knoblauch in 1997. It also gives Minnesota two All-Stars, as closer Glen Perkins was named to the AL team for the third straight year on Monday.
Dozier was given a standing ovation by the crowd at Target Field when the news was announced during the Twins' 9-5 victory over the Tigers.
"It's pretty awesome," Dozier said. "It was a relief that all the campaigning and all that stuff was over yesterday, but when I heard the news, it was unbelievable. I can't thank everyone enough. Obviously, it showed when they did their thing recognizing the situation. It's just unbelievable. To have the support I've had throughout the process has been really humbling."
Dozier had a big week after finding out he wasn't initially named an All-Star, as he hit walk-off homers against the Orioles on Monday and against the Tigers on Friday, and a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning vs. Baltimore on Wednesday. He became the first Twins player with two walk-off homers in one week since the franchise moved to Minnesota in 1961.
Dozier has been Minnesota's first-half MVP this season, entering Saturday hitting .259/.331/.521 with a team-leading 19 homers and 49 RBIs. He also leads the AL with 48 extra-base hits and 66 runs scored. The 48 extra-base hits before the All-Star break is a franchise record.
"I'm really happy for him," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I started thinking if you had to make an MVP vote for the first half of the season, and not that it would be that significant, but I think he'd be in the conversation. He'd be top five, or top 10 for most, I would think, as far as contributions to a team that has hung in there."
Dozier was initially left off the roster with Houston's Jose Altuve voted in as the starter and Cleveland's Jason Kipnis being named a backup. But Dozier has been the best second baseman in the Majors dating back to last year, according to Wins Above Replacement. Dozier has an 8.1 WAR to lead Altuve's 7.1 WAR over that span, per Fangraphs.com.
Dozier was set to spend the All-Star break with his wife, Renee, at a cabin two hours north of the Twin Cities, but will instead head to Cincinnati after Sunday's game against the Tigers.
"I don't know if I'll have to eat the deposit or whatever, but I'll take it, going to Cincy," Dozier said with a laugh.
During the All-Star Game in Cincinnati on Tuesday, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
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