June 28, 2019 / 1:12 AM / 22 days ago

MLB notebook: Pence, LeMahieu earn All-Star starts

The starting lineups for this summer’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game were announced Thursday night, with several surprises getting the nod.

FILE PHOTO: Jun 2, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA;Texas Rangers left fielder Hunter Pence (24) runs to third base in the second inning against the Kansas City Royals at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Unheralded free agent signees Hunter Pence and DJ LeMahieu were among the names unveiled at their respective positions. LeMahieu, the New York Yankees’ second baseman, and Pence, the Texas Rangers’ designated hitter, will each suit up for the American League.

Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte (National League) and Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco (AL) were among other unexpected names selected as starters after an impressive first half to the season. They are joined by outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves (NL) and first baseman Carlos Santana of the Cleveland Indians (AL) as first-time All-Stars.

The majority of the remainder of each starting lineup was comprised of some of the game’s biggest stars, with Los Angeles Angels outfielder and two-time MVP Mike Trout the leading overall vote-getter in online balloting.

—Giancarlo Stanton has played in only nine games this season, and the New York Yankees likely will have to do without him until August, general manager Brian Cashman said Thursday.

The outfielder/designated hitter returned to the injured list because of a strained PCL in his right knee. Cashman, speaking to reporters in London in advance of a weekend series against the Boston Red Sox, said of Stanton’s return that it was “safer to say the sweet spot would be August.”

Stanton, 29, returned to the lineup on June 18 after missing 68 games with a torn left biceps, a strained left shoulder and a strained left calf. He hit his first homer Monday and is 9-for-31 (.290) with seven RBIs in nine games this season.

—Seven-time All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel was called up by the Chicago Cubs and earned the save in his first appearance with the team Thursday against the Atlanta Braves.

Kimbrel allowed a two-out ground-rule double and a walk before Anthony Rizzo bailed him out by diving to beat Freddie Freeman to first base on a grounder for the final out in Chicago’s 9-7 win.

Kimbrel, 31, sat on the free agent market until signing a reported three-year deal with the Cubs worth $43 million on June 7. The hard-throwing right-hander worked out at the Cubs’ spring training facility and made four appearances at Triple-A Iowa — with a 2.45 ERA in 3 2/3 innings — before the call-up.

—Fifty years after he led the Amazin’ Mets to the team’s first World Series title, legendary New York pitcher Tom Seaver was honored with his own street.

The section of 126th Street between Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, the street running in front of Citi Field, was renamed 41 Tom Seaver Way, and the Mets also announced a Seaver statue will be placed at the stadium.

His two daughters, Sarah and Anne, were joined at the festivities by their sons and members of the 1969 World Series team. Seaver, 74, has been diagnosed with dementia and no longer makes public appearances.

—The Minnesota Twins placed catcher and utility player Willians Astudillo on the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain.

Astudillo is hitting .263 with seven doubles, three home runs and 13 RBIs in 133 at-bats in 39 games.

The Twins called up outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. from Triple-A Rochester to replace Astudillo.

—The Tampa Bay Rays activated infielder Yandy Diaz, who had been out because of a strained right hamstring, from the 10-day injured list.

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Diaz was in the starting lineup Thursday against the Twins, hitting fourth and playing third base.

In a corresponding move, the Rays sent right-hander Hunter Wood (1-1, 2.25 ERA) to Triple-A Durham.

—Field Level Media

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