A total of eight former Twins were named to last year’s All-Star teams. If there’s going to be anything resembling last year’s ex-TwinsFest, alumni from the National League will have to find their way onto the roster for the July 15 game at Target Field.
And that could happen, based on the first balloting update released on Wednesday.
Local fans might be interested in a former Twin and current Rockies player who’s getting strong fan support at first base — Justin Morneau.
It’s been a struggle for Morneau ever since he suffered a concussion in the middle of the 2010 season. He signed with Colorado as a free agent last offseason and is batting .312 with 10 home runs and 33 RBI in 51 games.
Morneau has received 305,327 votes, good for third place among first basemen — but only 45,000 votes behind leader Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers.
Morneau’s teammate, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, leads all NL players with 745,823 votes — a lead of more than 500,000 at his position. Colorado’s Nolan Arenado (third base) and Charlie Blackmon (outfield) also lead their positions.
Another Rockies player, former Twin Michael Cuddyer, is 14th among outfielders. Cuddyer, the defending NL batting champion, was elected as a reserve for last year’s All-Star Game through player voting.
Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez, another former Twin, is ranked sixth among outfielders and stands a much better chance than Cuddyer to be voted onto the team. The Twins and Brewers face each other next week during interleague play.
Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said the ex-Twin factor would be exciting during All-Star week at Target Field.
“It would be fun for our fans if the game would have been here last year,” he said. “They would have loved it with a bunch of former Twins. Some were big-time fan favorites.”
Balloting in all stadiums began May 12 and will end June 26. After that, fans can vote online (up to 25 times) until 10:59 p.m. (Central time) on July 3.
The fan vote decides the All-Star starting position players. The pitchers and reserves for both squads will be determined through a combination of a player ballot and selections made by AL manager John Farrell and NL manager Mike Matheny. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will be part of Farrell’s coaching staff at the game.
The All-Star teams will be announced on the All-Star Game Selection Show, to be held the weekend of July 5-6. But that won’t be the end of voting. For the 13th year, there will be an online vote at MLB.com to select the final player for each team. Fans will get to select the final player from a list of five players from each league.