Major League Baseball revealed the players who will take part in next week's All-Star Game in Minneapolis and the American League roster includes a pair of Minnesota Twins.
As the Star Tribune reports, relief pitcher Glen Perkins and catcher Kurt Suzuki were named to the team – Perkins for the second time in as many years and Suzuki for the first time in his eight-year career.
Perkins is a Stillwater native who starred for the University of Minnesota. The Pioneer Press reports he called the chance to pitch in an All-Star Game in front of his hometown fans "a dream come true."
While Perkins was a member of the 2013 All-Star team, he did not play in last summer's game. This time around Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire is on the American League coaching staff. WCCO says Gardenhire promised Perkins will pitch on July 15, saying “I’ll be on the bench. I’ll just sneak him out there.”
Perkins was selected to the team by the manager of the American League squad, John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox. Farrell also named Suzuki to the team to replace Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles. Wieters was elected by fans to be the starting catcher but is unable to play because of an injury.
In its announcement, Major League Baseball noted 26 players were named All-Stars for the first time. 24 of the players were born outside the U.S.
Twins President Dave St. Peter gave credit to reliever Pat Neshek, a former Twin and one-time star at Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park, who will represent the St. Louis Cardinals on the National League All-Star team.
Former Twin Justin Morneau is on the bubble for the last spot on the National League team. Morneau, now a member of the Colorado Rockies, is among five players who are candidates in the NL Final Vote. As with the AL Final Vote, the player who claims the most fan votes cast online will be added to the team.
While he's not a Minnesota native, the Washington Post reports pitcher Jordan Zimmerman of the Nationals is originally from Aurburndale, Wisconsin, about a three-hour drive from Minneapolis.
While he pitched in a college tournament at the Metrodome, Zimmerman has never set foot in Target Field. He tells the Post of his Badger State supporters “I’m sure I’ll have a decent amount of people coming over. Hopefully not too many, so I don’t have to buy too many tickets.”