The Seattle Mariners early season success has put the team in contention for a playoff race as well as some national recognition. Closer Edwin Diaz, right fielder Mitch Haniger and designated hitter Nelson Cruz were all named to the American League squad for the 89th Major League Baseball All-Star Game to be held on July 17th at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
Cruz will be making his sixth career All- Star game appearance three of which have been with the Mariners in four years while Diaz and Haniger will be making their first midsummer classic. The last time the Mariners placed more than two players on the AL roster was in 2014 when Felix Hernandez, Fernando Rodney, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager participated in the game.
“We’re certainly well represented,” manager Scott Servais said. “Eddie Diaz had an unbelievable first half. Nelson Cruz has been there before. I’m really happy for Mitch Haniger getting his first trip. I’m quite frankly shocked that Jean Segura wasn’t on it, but there’s a lot of good players in the league.”
Diaz leads all relievers in the Majors with 38 saves while Cruz recovered from a slow start and has homered 11 times in Seattle’s last 27 games. Cruz has hit 22 home runs this year good enough to put him in a tie for seventh in the AL with Boston right fielder Mookie Betts.
“He had a very slow start and a couple nagging injuries,” Servais said. “But he got on that stretch where he was so hot and really got going. I think everybody looks at our ballclub and the record we have, certainly he’s a big part of it in the middle of our lineup. He’s a name people recognize, no question about it.”
Haniger is in his second year with the Mariners after a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks and continues to get better each year. Haninger is hitting 274 has 18 home runs and has 65 RBI’s which puts him in a tie for third in the Majors with Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs.
“He’s a worthy candidate, no doubt,” Servais said. “He’s been great, with us losing Robinson Cano and being able to slide Mitch predominantly into the three-hole. He’s continuing to grow as a player. He’s not as young as some of the young guys in the league, but his experience level in the league isn’t quite there yet. But you’d never know it with how he prepares and handles things throughout a game and how he makes adjustments.”