CHICAGO (AP)Miguel Cabrera was thrilled to find out he was picked for another All-Star Game. Making it even sweeter? Being selected along with Albert Pujols.
The two sluggers with a combined five MVPs were added to All-Star rosters on Friday by baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred under a provision in the sport’s new labor agreement.
”I’ve always looked up to Albert,” Cabrera said. ”I’ve always followed his career. He’s one of the best hitters I’ve ever seen in my life. To be part of this together is going to be great.”
The selection is the 11th for the 42-year-old Pujols, who is the oldest active player in MLB this season, and the first since 2015. Cabrera, 39, was picked for the 12th time and the first since 2016.
”Miguel is like a little brother to me,” Pujols said. ”He’s somebody I respect. We talk a lot. It’ll be great to see him there.”
Pujols returned to the St. Louis Cardinals in March, agreeing to a $2.5 million, one-year contract with the team he started with. An NL MVP in 2005, 2008 and 2009, the Dominican star played for the Cardinals from 2001-11, then left for a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels. He spent most of 2021 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He is a .296 career hitter and fifth with 683 home runs, trailing only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696). Pujols’ 2,168 RBIs are third behind Aaron (2,297) and Ruth (2,214).
”When I got drafted and began my big league career, it was never in my mind or my thoughts to accomplishing so much in my career,” Pujols said. ”There’s no regrets in my career.”
Pujols is hitting .200 with four homers and 18 RBIs in 125 at-bats this season. Pujols has played in 45 games before Friday. He has become a specialist against left handed pitching as he has a .290 batting average this season versus southpaws.
He said in March he intends to retire after this season.
”This is really exciting for me,” Pujols said. ”I’m going to enjoy it. I think this is awesome. It’s really special. This means a lot. It’s pretty cool to be going there. I’m just going to try and have a good time.”
Pujols would entertain competing in the Home Run Derby
”There are so many other players that deserve that honor. If they ask me, I don’t know, I’d give it a chance,” he said. ”I don’t know how good I would do, but I’d do it.”
Cabrera won the AL MVP in 2012 and 2013, and in 2012 led the AL with a .330 batting average, 44 homers and 139 RBIs to become MLB’s first Triple Crown winner since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Cabrera got his 3,000th hit on April 23, the 33rd player to reach the mark.
”It’s a chance to talk to all the players,” Cabrera said. ”You have a chance to ask questions, learn something. It’s fun because it’s the only time we can get together, sit together and talk about everything. It’s a good time to know people. It’s a good time to talk about baseball.”
Cabrera said he appreciated getting a phone call from Manfred, who asked if he wanted ”to be part of the All-Star Game.”
A Venezuela native, Cabrera began his big league career with the Florida Marlins in 2003 and was traded to Detroit after the 2007 season with pitcher Dontrelle Willis for pitchers Andrew Miller, Dallas Trahern, Burke Badenhop and Frankie De La Cruz and outfielder Cameron Maybin.
Cabrera has a .310 career average with 505 homers and 1,835 RBIs. He is hitting .308 with three homers and 31 RBIs in 2022, the ninth season of a $292 million, 10-year contract.
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. were elected to start in the July 19 game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and remaining starters among position players were announced later Friday.
Pitchers and reserves will be announced Sunday.
Manfred has the right under the March 10 agreement that ended the lockout to ”add one player that he selects to each league’s roster, in recognition of each player’s career achievements. If special circumstances warrant, the commissioner may select more than one player to each league’s roster.”
Pujols and Cabrera are in addition to the 32-man limit on each All-Star roster.
”It is a great legacy award for Pujols and Miggy, two guys that have dominated their era,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. ”And obviously for Miggy, he could have made the All-Star team in a variety of ways.”
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