Oakland Athletics right-hander Grant Balfour and Kansas City Royals right-hander Greg Holland have been named American League All-Stars and will replace inactive pitchers Bartolo Colon of the Athletics and Hisashi Iwakuma of the Seattle Mariners, A.L. manager Jim Leyland announced in conjunction with Major League Baseball today. In addition, Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann has been selected as a National League All-Star and will replace inactive first baseman and teammate Freddie Freeman, N.L. manager Bruce Bochy announced today.
Balfour and Holland are first-time All-Stars, increasing this year's total of first-timers to 38, extending the new record. McCann becomes an All-Star for the seventh time in his career, following six consecutive appearances from 2006-11.
Balfour becomes the first Australian pitcher ever to be named to the Midsummer Classic and only the second Australian player overall to earn an All-Star berth, joining catcher Dave Nilsson of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1999. Balfour, 35, is in his 11th Major League season. The right-hander holds a 1.67 ERA and 25 saves in his 39 games this season. He has fanned 38 batters in 37.2 innings, allowing 27 hits and 13 walks.
Holland, 27, is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 22 saves this year. The 5'10" right-hander has struck out 60 batters in 35.0 innings of work (21 H, 11 BB) this season while holding batters to a .171 average. Holland's 15.43 strikeouts per nine innings (min.: 30.0 IP) leads the Majors, and only three pitchers ever have posted a better mark over a full season. The North Carolina native seta Royals record in 2012 with 12.22 strikeouts per nine innings (min.: 60.0 IP).
McCann, who is the only player in franchise history to have been named an All-Star in each of his first six Major League seasons, was hitting .291 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI entering play today. The 29-year-old, who was the MVP of the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim, collected at least one extra-base hit in seven consecutive games from June 29th-July 6th, all while playing the catcher position. According to Elias, he is just the second Brave since 1900 to accomplish the feat, joining Earl Williams (July 1972). Over his last 16 games since June 23rd, he is hitting .410 (25-for-61) with four home runs, 15 RBI and eight multi-hit contests. McCann joins Freeman and closer Craig Kimbrel as Braves representatives at the 2013 Midsummer Classic.
Other announcements regarding the All-Star rosters will be made later today, including substitutions for other All-Star pitchers who are starting today. The current A.L. and N.L. All-Star rosters accompany this press release.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16th. The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies will begin at 7:30 p.m. (EDT). ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or mets.com/asg.