SEATTLE -- Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz was named to The Sporting News American League All-Star team at designated hitter on Wednesday, becoming the first Seattle position player selected for the team since Ichiro Suzuki in 2009.
Cruz put up a .302/.369/.566 line with 44 home runs and 93 RBIs in his first season after signing a four-year, $57 million deal with the Mariners. It was his first time being selected for The Sporting News honor.
Mariners ace Felix Hernandez was the starting pitcher on The Sporting News team in 2014, as well as 2010, but no other Seattle player had been honored since Ichiro in 2004, '07 and '09.
The 11-man team was selected by a panel of 22 AL executives before the playoffs began.
Cruz actually played more games in the outfield than designated hitter and hit better when he was in the field, but he outpolled the other DH candidates. In 80 games in right field, the 35-year-old batted .337 with 31 home runs, 59 RBIs and a 1.072 OPS. In 72 games at DH, he hit .263 with 13 homers, 34 RBIs and a .783 OPS.