Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann named to 2014 NL All-Star team
Infielder Anthony Rendon part of 2014 Final Vote
by Amanda Comak
The Nationals’ 19-game winner from a year ago, who is 6-4 with a 2.79 ERA in 18 2014 starts, was named to the National League All-Star team for the second consecutive season on Sunday evening. He was the Nationals’ lone selection.
Infielder Anthony Rendon, who has split his time this year between second and third base, was named to the Final Vote. Fans can vote through Thursday to help Rendon join Zimmermann in Minneapolis.
“It means a lot,” Zimmermann said. “It’s a huge honor. I’m excited. I wouldn’t be going if it wasn’t for those guys playing defense behind me every day, and the catchers calling the pitches. I throw the ball. I try to throw strikes and let the guys put it in play. As much as it’s me going, it’s actually all these guys, too.”
“I’m here to throw 200 innings, that’s my biggest goal,” the usually-understated Zimmermann added. “To go deep into ballgames and give these guys a chance to win the game. You do that stuff, I guess you become an All-Star. That’s what’s happened the last couple years.”
For Zimmermann, the trip back to the game’s biggest showcase will mark another reminder that he has cemented himself amongst the best in the game.
The selection comes at a time in which Zimmermann may be pitching as well as he has all season. In seven starts before being named to the team, Zimmermann — who opened the month of June with 19 consecutive scoreless innings — posted 1.26 ERA.
Seven years after the Nationals’ plucked him out of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and five years removed from the Tommy John surgery that rebuilt his elbow, the right-hander was a chosen by NL Manager Mike Matheny to be a part of the 2014 squad.
And this time, he’ll be put on that stage a mere three hours from his hometown of Auburndale, Wisc. This year, too, the hope is that the Nationals’ winningest pitcher will get a chance to participate. A lingering neck issue held him out of last year’s game at Citi Field, though he went and enjoyed the All-Star festivities in New York.
“You want to pitch in it,” Zimmermann said. “Last year, being the first time, I wanted to, but this year it’s going to be good. It’s about three hours from home. I’m sure I’ll have a decent amount of people coming over. I think it’s going to be fun.”
For Rendon, the Nationals’ infielder is following up his strong rookie campaign with a breakout season. Shifting seamlessly between second (17 starts) and third base (65 starts), depending on need, Rendon is hitting .282 (94-for-333) with 21 doubles, five triples, a career-high 12 home runs and 50 RBI in 83 games.
Rendon, 24, has excelled offensively — he ranks among the NL’s top 10 in runs (60), triples (5), RBI (50) and extra-base hits.
“It’d be pretty cool,” Rendon said of the possibility of being an All-Star. “I’m not trying to get my hopes up. I don’t let my highs get too high, my lows get too low. (There are) definitely a lot of guys who deserve it.”
Fans can vote for Rendon through Thursday at nationals.com/vote.