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Cubs’ Contreras ‘speechless’ over brother’s All-Star candidacy originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Let the runoff elections begin.
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, the National League’s leading vote getter at his position, was the only Cubs player to earn a spot among Thursday’s finalists for starting All-Star elections via van voting.
The top two at each position (top six outfielders) now enter a final runoff with fan voting starting over.
“It would mean a lot,” said Contreras, who also was the National League’s starting catcher in two of the last three All-Star games. “It would be nice for me, my family and the city of Chicago, that’s always had my back. And to do it in a Cubs jersey, it means everything to me.”
Contreras now faces off against Atlanta’s Travis d’Arnaud for the catching spot.
But even if Contreras is the lone Cub in the starting picture for the midsummer classic, he doesn’t figure to be lonely when he gets to Dodger Stadium for the festivities.
His little brother, William, is a finalist for the starting DH spot for the NL team, second in the initial voting to Phillies superstar Bryce Harper — who is sidelined indefinitely with a broken thumb suffered over the weekend.
If the Harper injury doesn’t propel William — the Braves second catcher — into the starting DH role, he would appear to be in position for a likely injury-replacement spot on the roster (which is determined through player-ballot voting).
“Hopefully, he makes it there. I’m not thinking about it yet because a lot of things can change from now,” Contreras said, adding, “I’m speechless.
“You just asked me, and I have so many things on my mind, thinking back to [childhood] days in my neighborhood in Venezuela, the long way that we had to come to make it to the big leagues.
“I can say a lot, but at the same time, I’m speechless.”
If the Cubs get a second selection, outfielder Ian Happ might be the most deserving, even if he inexplicably finished 14th on the fan balloting among NL outfielders. Closer David Robertson also looks like a possible candidate.
“Ian Happ deserves to be there for sure,” said Contreras, who has advocated for Happ on Instagram. “That’s why I’m using my social media to help him get votes, because if you see his stats, he’s top three in everything. His name is probably not that big, but his stats are good. That’s one thing as a human being you need to see.
“Being teammates with Ian Happ, the work he’s done this year is impressive.
“Ian Happ deserves to be there for sure. And I 100 percent know he deserves to be there.”
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