Detroit Tigers: Joe Jimenez, not Nicholas Castellanos, named All-Star
Detroit Tigers right-handed reliever Joe Jimenez is headed to July 17's All-Star Game in Washington — not Nicholas Castellanos.
The American League All-Star team roster — and the Tigers' representative — wasn't supposed to be released until 7 p.m. Sunday, but Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire accidentally spilled the beans after the Tigers' 3-0 loss to the Texas Rangers on Fox Sports Detroit's postgame telecast: Jimenez is in, and Castellanos is out, for now at least.
The right-hander confirmed what Gardenhire said after Sunday's game.
"(Gardenhire) called me into the office and I was like, 'What's going on?' I started crying right away," Jimenez said. "After last year and everything in my life, that's one of my biggest accomplishments in baseball. It's just great to represent the Tigers and all my teammates. Just proud of what's going on right now."
Jimenez, 23, is 4-1 with three saves, a 2.85 ERA and a 1.146 WHIP in 44 appearances this season. He struggled in his rookie season in 2017, bouncing back-and-forth between Detroit and the minors, but has been the team's most consistent reliever this year, and is serving as closer with Shane Greene injured.
He's the first Tigers reliever to make the Midsummer Classic since closer Jose Valverde did it in 2011.
Castellanos, who's hitting .301 with 15 home runs and 55 RBIs this season, was expected to be the Tigers' All-Star representative. He entered Sunday ranked 10th in OPS (.871) among all players who've played in the outfield in at least 50 percent of their games, and seventh in the American League.
"I think we all kind of thought this was going to with Nick. It's disappointing for myself and some of the other players," Gardenhire said Sunday. "We're really excited that Joe is going and getting a chance. That's wonderful. He's really had a great first half. But when you start looking at probably our best player, the guy that most deserved it, would be Nick. I don't see why we can't have two guys to tell you the truth. I guess baseball had something going on where they needed more pitchers or something. It's just disappointing because Nick's an All-Star. There's no doubt about it."
Jimenez pitched for the World Team in the Futures Game on the Sunday before the All-Star Game in 2015 and 2016.
If he gets into this year's game, he'll be the youngest Tiger to appear in an All-Star Game since Travis Fryman (23) in 1992 and the youngest Tigers pitcher to do it since Mark Fidrych (21) in 1976.
"It's fantastic. He deserves every bit of it," said teammate Michael Fulmer, who was an All-Star last season and started against Texas on Sunday. "I've already talked to him before the game today and I said 'go to all the events.' (There's) a lot of parties, but make sure you're dialed in to pitch the All-Star Game.
"Obvisouly I didn't pitch last year, but I told him to just have fun. Hang out with the players, meet the guys and build relationships with them because on the field you're playing against them, but I know some of the relationships I built last year, we still kind of smile at each other on the baseball field and talk to each other when I'm not facing them. I just told him to have a great time and enjoy every single aspect you can."
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