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Alvarez an All-Star replacement for Zimmermann

The new Fish ace with Fernandez out, MLB shutouts leader added to NL roster

Alvarez an All-Star replacement for Zimmermann

NEW YORK -- When Jose Fernandez went down due to Tommy John elbow surgery in May, the Marlins looked for someone in the rotation to step up.

Henderson Alvarez seized the opportunity, and the 24-year-old right-hander has pitched like a No. 1 starter. His 2.63 ERA in 120 innings with a Major League-leading three shutouts are being noticed.

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On Saturday, Major League Baseball announced Alvarez has been added to the National League All-Star squad, replacing Washington's Jordan Zimmermann, who will not be attending due to right biceps cramps.

In his fourth big league season, Alvarez (6-4) will be attending his first All-Star Game. He gives Miami two representatives on the NL squad. Giancarlo Stanton was selected as a reserve outfielder, and the slugger is expected to be the designated hitter.

"We talked about a guy stepping up and stepping in [for Fernandez], and Henderson definitely has done that," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "Last year, everybody talked about Jose, and rightfully so. He was amazing. But it's great to see guys step up and get recognized for their work. It's been fun to watch Henderson develop."

The Marlins had won a franchise-record 10 straight Alvarez starts. But that streak ended on Friday with a 7-1 loss to the Mets at Citi Field. Alvarez had a string of nine straight starts of allowing two earned runs or fewer snapped.

The right-hander from Venezuela achieved a piece of MLB history last year when he no-hit the Tigers in the regular-season finale.

"When you think back to last year when he threw the no-hitter, I think that's kind of been a catapult for him, and led to the success he's had this year," Redmond said.

A strike-thrower who relies on movement of his pitches, Alvarez is a terrific athlete. He is a plus fielder, and he handles the bat well.

"He's definitely been the anchor, holding [the rotation] down," Stanton said. "This is good for him."

The Marlins acquired Alvarez from the Blue Jays as part of a blockbuster 12-player deal.

Alvarez will be available to pitch in Tuesday's Midsummer Classic in Minnesota if his number is called.

With Alvarez heading to the All-Star Game, the Marlins are rethinking how they will set their rotation after the break. Alvarez, even if he doesn't pitch Tuesday, likely wouldn't get the start for Miami on Friday against San Francisco at Marlins Park. Nathan Eovaldi is the likely choice to start off the second half.

At the All-Star Game, Alvarez is eager to be around fellow Venezuela native Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, as well as Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers.

"There's a lot of guys I'd like to see," Alvarez said. "Everybody is an All-Star. I especially look forward to seeing pitchers from the American League. Felix Hernandez is a pitcher I've admired when I was coming up and watching him pitch."

Alvarez sports a bright orange glove, and he's known for being quirky. Before throwing his first pitch, Alvarez will do an elongated windup, extending forward before tilting back and into his full delivery. He only does it for the first pitch.

"That's my routine," Alvarez said. "I've always had it in the big leagues with the first pitch of my delivery."

Alvarez's fastball typically is in the 93-96 mph range, and he mixes in breaking balls. He even has a super-slow curveball that floats up there in the 58-mph range.

Redmond calls that pitch, "The Henderson." Others have referred to it as an Eephus pitch. Either way, it typically results in takes by hitters or overly aggressive swings.

"Henderson has been one of our workhorses," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "He's been able to give our bullpen a rest, and [he] picked us up when we needed a big win. He's just been a great leader of our staff since Jose has gone down."

The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again allow fans to help choose the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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