Jose Berrios was just starting to plan for the four days off that come during the All-Star break.
“I was talking with my mom,” Berrios said. “I said, ‘Mom, maybe I’ll go spend the All-Star break in Florida. In Orlando — Magic Kingdom for the kid.’ ”
“Now,” he said. “We’re going to Washington.”
The Twins’ young gun is headed to his first All-Star Game, representing the American League. Berrios was told moments before the Twins played Baltimore on Sunday, and he reacted with surprise. He didn’t think his recent outings had helped his case. He gave up six runs over 4⅓ innings to the Cubs on June 29, then lost to the Brewers on Tuesday, giving up three runs over seven innings.
But someone felt differently, as Berrios is headed for the Midsummer Classic on July 17 at Nationals Park.
“It means a lot,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of good players. We know a couple guys deserve to be there, too, but that’s baseball. I feel proud to represent my organization, the Minnesota Twins and my family in Puerto Rico. I’m so excited to be there in D.C.”
Eddie Rosario could join him, as he was named one of five players who could be voted onto the team by fans.
Berrios, 24, is 8-7 with a 3.54 ERA heading into Monday’s start against Kansas City. He has emerged as the most talented starter on the staff and one of the better young starters in the game. He has held opponents to a .209 batting average. He is one of three starters with two complete games and one of nine with a shutout.
It will be the sixth time a Twins pitcher has been named to the All-Star team over the past six years. Glen Perkins made three consecutive All-Star Games from 2013 to ’15, and Brandon Kintzler and Ervin Santana were chosen for last year’s game.
“It’s a tremendous honor for a young pitcher that we have really spoke at length about in terms of his development, what he means in this clubhouse and where we’re going,” manager Paul Molitor said. “To be selected, it should be special for him. A lot of guys don’t play to be All-Stars, that’s just their makeup. They play at a high level and they get acknowledged when they perform well. This was the case for them.”
Twins players wanted to see Rosario, Eduardo Escobar and Fernando Rodney also receive recognition. Rosario still has a chance through the Final Vote, though he is going against Boston’s Andrew Benintendi, the Angels’ Andrelton Simmons, the Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton and Seattle’s Jean Segura.
The Twins already have a slogan ready: “Accept This Rosie.” They also have joined forces with the Brewers, who have Jesus Aguilar in the NL Final Vote; the teams are encouraging fans to vote for both, presenting the two as the Border Ballot.
“I’ve been working hard since the start of the season,” said Rosario, who is batting .301 with 18 homers and 51 RBI. “Everything happens for a reason. I’m happy for Jose. At least I’m in the last vote, and hope that people will vote for me.”
History is not on his side, as no Twins player has ever won the Final Vote. Rosario is their seventh candidate, joining Lew Ford in 2004, Torii Hunter in 2005, Francisco Liriano in 2006, Pat Neshek in 2007, Delmon Young in 2010 and Brian Dozier in 2015. Liriano and Dozier did make those All-Star Games as injury replacements, though.
And several players are expected to back out because of injuries or other reasons. That could be an avenue in which Rosario or Escobar — the major league leader with 35 doubles — find his way on the team.
“There’s always one or two guys who wow you, the fact they are not in it,” Dozier said. “You mentioned Escobar and there’s Rosario. What he’s done. At the same time, things can happen. Injuries, fatigue, Final Vote. Should be a fun week to campaign for him.”