ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals will be represented in the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard by baseball's most potent leadoff hitter, as Matt Carpenter was named to the National League team on Tuesday. It marked his third selection in the last four seasons.
As of now, however, the veteran infielder will be traveling to San Diego alone.
Unless the Cardinals have a late addition to the squad as an injury replacement, this will be the first time since 2002 (Matt Morris) that the Cardinals will send one player to the All-Star Game. In three of the past four seasons, the Cardinals have had six players named to the NL team.
"I feel like it would be odd, and it would be disappointing because like I said I feel like we've got some guys who deserve to go," Carpenter said, shortly after manager Mike Matheny pulled him into his office to deliver the congratulatory news prior to Tuesday night's matchup against the Pirates. "Maybe some arms aren't available or some injuries free open some spots because I'm certainly not the only deserving All-Star on our team."
Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak both reached out to Mets manager Terry Collins, who filled out the NL roster, to lobby for several of their players. Starting pitcher Carlos Martinez, reliever Seung Hwan Oh and shortstop Aledmys Diaz are among those the Cardinals had hoped would garner consideration.
The fact that no Cardinals were selected to the team through the fan ballot or player vote hurt the club's chances of landing multiple All-Stars. Catcher Yadier Molina was overtaken in the final days of the fan vote by San Francisco's Buster Posey. His exclusion from the team snaps a string of seven straight All-Star selections.
"I was surprised. I really was," Mozeliak said of the organization's one-man class. "As all of you know, though, this is sort of day one of the announcement and lots of additions happen after [this]. Come Tuesday, I would be very surprised if we didn't have an addition."
Carpenter was an obvious choice, as he entered Tuesday leading the NL in OPS (1.008) and on-base percentage (.427), and ranking second in doubles (25), slugging percentage (.581) and extra-base hits (44). He's been especially dangerous since returning from paternity leave, hitting .383/.496/.687 with 22 extra-base hits and 21 RBIs in those 30 games.
Carpenter acknowledged the possibility of correlation between the two.
"Carrying that weight early on in the season, that anticipation just the nerves that go along with having a child, once she arrived and was healthy and all that good stuff it's certainly been a relief," Carpenter said. "Maybe I got my dad strength that people talk about so if that's a real thing then maybe so."
His newborn daughter, Kinley, will be accompanying the Carpenters to the All-Star festivities.
Carpenter will head to San Diego as a utility option for Collins. The return of Jhonny Peralta and ascension of Diaz led the Cardinals to move Carpenter to second base a month ago. He has started three games at first base, as well.
"I want to be known as a guy who can move around and play different positions," Carpenter said. "Being a guy who can help our team when needed by moving positions, that's kind of my role."
Fans can vote for the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote until 3 p.m. CT on Friday. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will be announced during a Final Vote-themed telecast of "MLB Now" featuring commentary from political analyst Jeff Greenfield, live on MLB Network and MLB.com from 3-4 p.m. CT. MLB Network will provide extensive coverage across all of its studio programming during the Final Vote, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating the cities where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.
Baseball fans have cast nearly 600 million online votes for Final Vote candidates since the program's inception in 2002. In addition to MLB.com and the official club websites, fans can use their mobile devices to cast votes at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Final Vote will include social balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their vote totals. From 9 a.m.-3 p.m. CT on Friday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.
On Tuesday, July 12, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard 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 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.