MILWAUKEE (AP) — Francisco Rodriguez is headed back to the All-Star game for the fifth time, and this one means an awful lot to the closer for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Rodriguez, one of four Brewers selected for the July 15 game at Target Field in Minnesota, was supposed to be a setup man this season, but returned to the closer role when Jim Henderson struggled in spring training. The 32-year-old right-hander had 27 saves in 30 chances for the NL Central leaders heading into Monday night's game against Philadelphia.
It is the first All-Star selection since 2009 for Rodriguez, who is 12th on baseball's career list with 331 saves. He also made the All-Star team in 2004, 2007 and 2008 with the Angels, and 2009 with the Mets.
"Early in my career, I was a thrower," Rodriguez said. "A guy who threw hard with a hard slider, pretty much with no knowledge of the game. Just go out there and try and blow people away and strike people out without having any knowledge of game situations, game preparation, all the little details that today I put into practice. It has paid off."
Center fielder Carlos Gomez, third baseman Aramis Ramirez and catcher Jonathan Lucroy also made the NL team from Milwaukee. Gomez and Ramirez were elected to start the game, and Lucroy was selected as a reserve for the first time via the player vote.
"We all know how rarely this thing happens," Lucroy said. "You're going to have guys in there every year like the top, top tier players, but whenever you've got regular guys like myself, these things kind of rare to happen in our lives. It's kind of nice to be a part of and be recognized for it."