PHOENIX — For a team with a losing record and rebounding from a 98-loss season, the Rockies still have plenty of star power.
Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez became just the third and fourth Rockies players voted to start the All-Star Game for the National League when the final ballots were announced Saturday. It’s the first time the Rockies have a had two players voted as starters. Outfielder Michael Cuddyer was chosen as a reserve.
Tulowitzki (5,408,860 million votes) easily bested San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford at shortstop, never relenting a large lead he gained early in the process. Tulowitzki started in the 2011 as an injury replacement in Phoenix. Gonzalez is making his second consecutive all-star appearance, finishing second in the vote with 4,212,904. Gonzalez will be flanked by the Cardinals’ Carlos Beltran and Washington’s Bryce Harper.
Gonzalez started a year ago when Tony La Russa chose him to lead off and serve as the designated hitter in Kansas City. The only previous Rockies voted to start by the fans were Dante Bichette (1996), Larry Walker (1997-98-99) and Todd Helton (2001-02-03).
Though on the disabled list with a fractured right rib, Tulowitzki has not ruled out playing in the All-Star Game. He will take batting practice again Saturday and could begin a rehab assignment, possibly with Triple-A Colorado Springs, as soon as Monday. Without a setback, Tulowitzki is targeting Thursday to rejoin the Rockies’ roster for the Dodgers series, leaving him in position to bolster a struggling lineup and to participate in the Midsummer Classic.
The Rockies entered Saturday night 7-13 since Tulowitzki was hurt diving for a groundball June 13. He is batting .347 with 16 home runs and a .413 on-base percentage. Tulo, a two-time Gold Glove winner, has committed just one error in 58 games.
“It’s hard to think that he could play much better,” manager Walt Weiss said before Tulowitzki landed on the disabled list.
Despite a recent slump, Gonzalez ranks among the league leaders in several categories. He entered Saturday leading the NL with 23 home runs and ranked fourth with 62 RBIs.
“It’s an honor to go,” said Gonzalez, who plans to bring many family members and friends to the game at Citi Field on July 16.
Cuddyer, who made his second All-Star Game, has been the Rockies’ most consistent performer. He posted a baseball-best 27-game hitting streak this season, setting a Rockies’ franchise record. Cuddyer entered Saturday batting .342 with 15 home runs, 52 RBIs and a .396 on-base percentage.
Left-hander Rex Brothers, who temporarily closed games while Rafael Betancourt was sidelined with a leg injury, had a strong case as well. The reliever entered Saturday with a 1.02 ERA, had not allowed a run on the road this season and had limited opponents to a .200 average. However, the NL team went heavy with starting pitchers. Dodgers sensation Yasiel Puig is one of five players on the MLB.com Last Man Vote.