MLB fans pick Cruz for all-star game

AFPJuly 7, 2014
Nelson Cruz of the Baltimore Orioles takes part in the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 6, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts
Nelson Cruz of the Baltimore Orioles takes part in the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 6, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts (AFP Photo/Jim Rogash)

New York (AFP) - Nelson Cruz was voted to the 2014 Major League Baseball all-star game, just one year after being slapped with a 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs.

Cruz, of the Dominican Republic, was named Sunday as one of nine starters for the American League following voting by baseball fans.

The Baltimore Oriole player is tied for the league lead with 27 home runs. Cruz, who turned 34 on Tuesday, is one of three Baltimore players chosen for the game at Minnesota's Target Field on July 15.

Catcher Matt Wieters and outfielder Adam Jones were also picked from the Orioles. Wieters was voted in despite being out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

In January 2013, former Texas Ranger Cruz was linked to buying performance-enhancing drugs from the Biogenesis clinic based out of Miami.

Boston pitcher John Lackey criticized drugs cheat Cruz Saturday night before the all-star announcement. Cruz had just hit a single, double and home run off Lackey during the Red Sox's 7-4 loss to Baltimore.

"I'm not even going to comment on him. I've got nothing to say about him. There are some things that I would like to say, but I am not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff," Lackey told reporters.

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista led all players with nearly 5.86 million fan votes. Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki led the National League with almost 5.35 million votes. That didn't come as a surprise to Rockies manager Walt Weiss.

"Rightfully so with the first half he's put together," Weiss said Sunday after Tulowitzki returned to the lineup after missing two games because of a groin strain.

Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez will start instead of Wieters after being selected through the players ballot.

Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano will join New York Yankees Derek Jeter and Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson in the AL infield. Anaheim Angels star Mike Trout and Baltimore's Jones round out the AL outfield with Bautista.

Shortstop Jeter, who is retiring at the end of the season, is now a 14-time all-star.

Joining Tulowitzki in the NL infield will be Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley and Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramirez.

Los Angeles Dodgers rising star Yasiel Puig made his first all-star team in his second season and will play the outfield with fellow starters Andrew McCutchen of Pittsburgh and Carlos Gomez of Milwaukee.