Abreu, Cespedes, Puig among 5 Cuban All-Stars

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 15, 2014 at 2:53 am •  Published: July 15, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Aroldis Chapman wanted to interview Yasiel Puig, the Los Angeles Dodgers star who shaved a star on the left side of his head for the for the All-Star game.

At the National League's media session Monday, the Cincinnati Reds closer managed to squeeze in among the reporters and cameras, and he extended a tape recorder.

"So, how does it feel to be at an All-Star game?" Chapman asked.

Puig responded: "I'm here talking to someone who looks ugly."

Five Cubans are on the rosters for Tuesday night's game at Target Field: Chapman earned his third selection, and Puig is a first-time All-Star along with Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu and shortstop Alexei Ramirez.

Ramirez and Chapman were teammates on the gold medal-winning team at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"It kind of feel like old times playing with the national team in Cuba," Ramirez said. "We got this vibe, in which we try to be happy all time, having fun, playing dominoes."

"We left a country looking to make a dream come true, which is to play in the best baseball league in the world," added Ramírez. "We have accomplished that and here we are, at the All-Star game."

Cespedes won the All-Star Home Run Derby for the second year in a row Monday night, powering his way past Cincinnati's Todd Frazier 9-1 in the final round to become the first repeat winner since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998 and '99.

Puig, wearing a bright yellow sleeve on his right arm, was eliminated in the first round and became the first homerless participant since Robinson Cano two years ago in Kansas City.

Cespedes won the derby last year, even though he wasn't an All-Star. He's batting .246 this season with 14 homers and 56 RBIs.

"The Cuban league is below the major leagues levels, but the Cuban players have shown that we are capable to shine here," he said. "Last year, I was only invited to the derby. That was a nice experience, but it wasn't the same thing. I wanted to feel like an All-Star. This year I was able to do it."

Continue reading this story on the...