All-Star Game: It's now a young man's game

Some vets there, but so are 12 who are 24 or younger
2013-07-16T00:00:00Z All-Star Game: It's now a young man's gameThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 16, 2013 12:00 am  • 

NEW YORK - Flip on any highlight show and you're almost sure to see them, with those peach-fuzz faces and boyish features beneath their caps.

Mike Trout makes a diving catch on the warning track.

Manny Machado whacks another double into the corner at Camden Yards.

Bryce Harper belts a tape-measure home run or barrels into a catcher ... or an outfield fence ... or whatever stands in his way.

The next generation of baseball stars has arrived - straight from the senior prom, it seems - and these guys are changing the complexion of the grand ol' game.

Derek Jeter is 39 and injured, left off the All-Star team for the first time in eight years.

Matt Harvey is 24 and merciless, with a polished array of breaking pitches to complement 98 mph heat.

"These guys are coming up now with incredible talent, these young players," National League manager Bruce Bochy said Monday at Citi Field, where the New York Mets are hosting the All-Star game for the first time since Shea Stadium opened in 1964. "I think they are just getting better, faster, bigger, stronger still, and it's impressive to watch."

No kidding.

Trout and Harper, the Rookies of the Year last season, are making their second trip to the All-Star game. This time, they will start Tuesday night after getting elected by fans.

Some of baseball's best players are among the youngest on the field.

"It's good for the game," Trout said. "A lot of young guys are playing fearless and making a name for themselves at an early stage in their career."

Harper is 20, barely old enough to vote, let alone buy a drink, and Trout is all of 21.

Machado has spent less than a year in the majors, but that didn't stop the Baltimore third baseman from earning his first All-Star selection on his 21st birthday.

Machado was voted in by players, a significant sign of respect from his peers.

Well, mostly elders, actually. He certainly deserved it at a power-packed position after hitting 39 doubles in the first half, threatening the single-season record of 67 set by Earl Webb in 1931.

Take a swing around the majors and you see it's not only Trout, Harper and Machado.

There is Miami rookie right-hander Jose Fernandez, 20. Don't forget lefty Patrick Corbin, 23, 11-1 with a 2.35 ERA for Arizona. And second-year shortstop Jean Segura in Milwaukee, who leads the NL in hits at age 23.

There are 12 All-Stars this season 24 or younger, seven in the National League. That's the most since a dozen were selected in 1993, according to STATS. That group included Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza, Gary Sheffield, Mike Mussina and Juan Gonzalez. In all, 12 players who qualified as rookies last season made the All-Star team this year.

Although fresh faces are taking over, that doesn't mean all the old guys are out. Mariano Rivera, Torii Hunter, Carlos Beltran and Bartolo Colon are back at the Midsummer Classic, bringing decades of experience and wisdom.

Today

• When: 5 p.m.

• Where: New York

• TV; radio: Ch 11; 1490-AM

AL starting lineup

1. Mike Trout, Angels, lf

2. Robinson Cano, Yankees, 2b

3. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, 3b

4. Chris Davis, Orioles, 1b

5. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, rf

6. David Ortiz, Red Sox, dh

7. Adam Jones, Orioles, cf

8. Joe Mauer, Twins, c

9. J.J. Hardy, Orioles, ss

P. Max Scherzer, Tigers

NL starting lineup

1. Brandon Phillips, Reds, 2b

2. Carlos Beltran, Cardinals, rf

3. Joey Votto, Reds, 1b

4. David Wright, Mets, 3b

5. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies, lf

6. Yadier Molina, Cardinals, c

7. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies, ss

8. Michael Cuddyer, Rockies, dh

9. Bryce Harper, Nationals, cf

P. Matt Harvey, Mets

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