Cano headed back to All-Star Game

CanoRobinson Cano is headed back to the Midsummer Classic and the veteran second baseman couldn’t be happier after proving he’s still one of the elite players in the game with a sterling first half with the Mariners. Cano was the only Seattle player selected for the American League All-Star team that was announced Tuesday.

Cano will be a reserve on the AL squad for the game in San Diego next Tuesday. It will be the seventh All-Star appearance for the 33-year-old, who became the all-time leading home run hitter among second baseman in AL history earlier this year and has led a Mariners resurgence that has Seattle contending for an AL Wild-Card spot heading into the second half of the season.

“It’s one of the achievements you want,” Cano said after learning of his selection. “That’s a memory that everyone is always excited about. For me, it means a lot more because this year I’m going to be able to bring my son and he’s going to be able to enjoy that. It’ll be a great moment, just me and my son there.”

Cano said he’ll consider participating in the Home Run Derby as well, which he won in 2011 and also participated in during the 2012 and ’13 All-Star festivities.

Cano saw his string of five consecutive All-Star starts snapped last year when he endured a rough first half and hit the break batting just .251 with six homers and 30 RBIs. But since that time, Cano has returned to his old self, batting .316 with 34 homers and 103 RBIs in 153 games, including .303 with 19 homers and 54 RBIs in 83 games this year.

“Obviously Robbie has had a great first half for us and really led our team,” manager Scott Servais said. “He had that home run binge early in the season and he’s been out there every day. It’s nice to see him back healthy this year. I’m really excited for him to get this opportunity. He’s certainly deserved it.”

Per Baseball-Reference.com, Cano is tied for fifth in the AL in position player WAR at 3.6, behind only Mike Trout, Josh Donaldson, Jose Altuve and Manny Machado. Altuve won the fan’s vote as the AL’s starting second baseman, with Cano finishing second.

“I love watching him,” Cano said of the Astros second baesman. “He hits the ball hard, does something and he’s out there every day. The numbers he’s putting up are unbelievable. The last two years he’s raking. Not just second basemen, everybody would love to have that kind of season.”

Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz was not selected to the AL team despite his 21 home runs, 54 RBIs and .280 batting average and third baseman Kyle Seager also didn’t make it despite hitting .274 with 16 homers, 54 RBIs and ranking 10th in position player WAR in the AL at 3.5.

“They both have the numbers to go, but that’s something out of my hands,” Cano said. “And it’s not over yet. People get hurt, you have the Final Vote. I hope they make it. It’s always good to have a teammate with you.”

Seager’s younger brother, Corey, who is having a big season as a rookie shortstop with the Dodgers, was selected to his first All-Star game as a National League reserve.

Mariners ace Felix Hernandez saw his string of six straight All-Star selections snapped as he’s missed the past five weeks with a strained right calf.

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