The 2023 MLB All-Star Game in Seattle will feature 42 first- or second-time selections, including 26 players making their All-Star debuts.
American and National League pitchers and reserves were announced Sunday for the July 11 game, and along with a young crop of participants is one mainstay: Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw. He's making his 10th All-Star appearance, second only to the Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout, who was selected to his 11th All-Star Game.
The NL-leading Atlanta Braves will send eight players to the Midsummer Classic -- the most of any team since the 2012 Texas Rangers, and the most of any NL team since the 2008 Chicago Cubs. Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., shortstop Orlando Arcia and catcher Sean Murphy were elected to the NL starting lineup by fans. They will be joined by five Braves teammates voted in by fellow players on Sunday: starting pitchers Spencer Strider and Bryce Elder (both first-time All-Stars) as well as first baseman Matt Olson, second baseman Ozzie Albies and third baseman Austin Riley.
"To have eight guys, it's awesome," Riley said.
The contingent includes Atlanta's entire starting infield, a proud accomplishment for Braves coach Ron Washington.
"Washington said this is probably the most emotional day of his career because all of his infielders went to the All-Star Game," Albies said.
The Rangers have six All-Stars this year, tops in the American League, including four starters in the infield. Nathan Eovaldi was voted by players to the AL pitching staff on Sunday, and Adolis García was elected as a reserve outfielder.
The Dodgers have five representatives, the fourth consecutive year they've sent at least five players to the All-Star Game.
In the American League, the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles head the list of teams sending the most reserves (four), as pitcher Kevin Gausman and infielders Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Whit Merrifield will represent Toronto, while Felix Bautista, Yennier Cano, Adley Rutschman and Austin Hays will do the same for Baltimore.
Each team is required to have at least one representative, so the league added Seattle Mariners pitcher Luis Castillo to the AL roster while doing the same with Boston Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen, Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Lorenzen, White Sox outfielder Luis Robert Jr. and Royals catcher Salvador Perez, who made his eighth All-Star team. The Washington Nationals are sending pitcher Josiah Gray as their lone representative after the league selected him along with pitcher Mitch Keller from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team with the highest payroll in MLB, the New York Mets, will have only one representative in first baseman Pete Alonso. He was also a league selection.
Keller, a 27-year-old right-hander, became an All-Star in his fifth season. Two years ago he was pitching for Triple-A Indianapolis at the time of the All-Star Game, and last year he was demoted to the bullpen for two weeks in May.
"Them having the most confidence in me the last two or three years is really cool, and everyone sticking with me and showing me their support and giving me their love, it's been awesome," Keller said of his Pirates teammates.
Rosters are expanded from 26 to 32 for the All-Star Game. They include starters voted on by the fans, along with the pitchers and reserves who were chosen in a player vote and augmented by league officials. Starters were announced earlier in the week, including the top vote-getters in each league -- the Angels' Shohei Ohtani and Acuna.
Ohtani became a two-way All-Star for the third straight year, elected to the pitching staff by players 10 days after fans voted him to start at designated hitter. He is the only two-way All-Star in major league history.
"He's very respectful. He doesn't do a whole bunch of talking," AL manager Dusty Baker of Houston said. "He comes to play, and he really handles the notoriety and the publicity with humility and greatness."
"There's a really cool picture of me hitting a homer off Shohei in Anaheim, and I'm going to approach him very humbly and try to get him to sign it," Rooker said. "That's something that I would like to have forever. If there's anybody doubting that he's the best baseball player of all time, I don't really know why they are. He could be the front-page story in every newspaper every day and it wouldn't be talked about enough what he's doing from an offensive and pitching standpoint."
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.