Despite entering the day with the second-best record in the American League, the A's had just one player selected to the All-Star team -- 40-year-old right-hander Bartolo Colon. It is the third selection for Colon, who served a 50-game suspension for a failed drug test last year and is linked to the Biogenesis clinic in Florida that is under investigation for PEDs.
"I feel extremely happy about it," Colon said through A’s coach and interpreter Ariel Prieto. "I believe it’s all about the work that I’ve been doing, since even before the season started. I thank the Oakland A’s for giving me the opportunity to be part of them."
Oakland's two other seeming candidates -- closer Grant Balfour, who has saved a franchise record-tying 40 straight games, including 22 this season, and third baseman Josh Donaldson -- were bypassed for the team that will be managed by Detroit's Jim Leyland. A's manager Bob Melvin was "stunned," according to MLB.com.
"No question," said Melvin, who had talked with Leyland about the selection process. "Hopefully something happens and another gets in, but I am very surprised. (Leyland) called me and asked me some questions, and he did that with everybody.
"He didn’t give me any indication. This certainly isn’t on Jim Leyland. He only gets to pick a certain number of guys, and there are always going to be deserving players that don’t get to go. As far as speaking about our players on our team, I felt like we were deserving of having more than one guy there."
Still, Balfour might make his way to New York's Citi Field for the July 16 Midsummer Classic as Colon (11-3, 2.78 ERA) is scheduled to start the A's game on Sunday, July 14, which would make him ineligible to participate in the game.
Also, Boston's Clay Buchholz and the Chicago White Sox's Jesse Crain are both on the disabled list and unavailable to pitch, though Colon actually replaced Buchholz on the A.L. roster.
Closers selected ahead of Balfour, the lone "perfect" closer in baseball, were the New York Yankees' retiring Mariano Rivera, who has converted 29 of 30 save opportunities, Texas' Joe Nathan, who has saved 28 of 29, and Minnesota's Glen Perkins, who has two blown saves in 22 chances.
The selection of Perkins over Balfour seems particularly mystifying, considering the Twins already had a starter voted in with catcher Joe Mauer and Minnesota was languishing 10 games under .500, as opposed to the A's, who were 14 games over .500 following Saturday's 4-3 loss at Kansas City.
"I guess I wasn’t good enough to make it," Balfour said, per MLB.com. "I don’t know what to tell you. You’re interviewing me because you thought I should’ve made it, and I don’t know. I feel like I’ve had some pretty good years over the years, and I felt like this was a year it maybe could’ve happened. But it didn’t happen and there’s still a season to be played, so I’m not going to sit here and cry about it.
"You play for a long time, think you put up some good numbers over the years, but if it was meant to be it was meant to be, so you let it go. It’s not always good enough to be perfect. You can’t be perfect for everyone. It’s not my choice. If I had the choice I’d go."
Said Donaldson, via MLB.com: "I don’t know that there are any numbers that are better than perfect. I don’t understand why he’s not on the team."
The only reserve third baseman selected for the A.L. was Baltimore's Manny Machado, who is batting .315 with six home runs and 42 RBI, compared to Donaldson's .317 average, 15 homers and 57 RBI.
"I’m not surprised,” Donaldson said, per MLB.com. "I felt honored that our fan base got behind me and tried to do what they could. That was special. For me, I understand the game of baseball and it’s more than just baseball sometimes, especially for stuff like this. Everyone who made the team I feel like is pretty deserving. I’m more happy that Colon made it vs. me, myself, not making it. It’s an incredible thing to do at 40 years old. I think it’s pretty amazing.”
Also, no A's players were listed on the Final vote ballot of five players, which was instead comprised of Toronto's Steve Delabar, the Yankees' David Robertson, Boston's Koji Uehara, Texas' Tanner Scheppers and Detroit's Joaquin Benoit.
Oakland's last position player selected was catcher Ramon Hernandez, in 2003, and it is the eighth time in nine years the A's have had only one player selected in the initial announcement.