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Oakland boasts largest contingent on All-Star roster

Donaldson, Cespedes, Norris, Moss, Doolittle and Kazmir to represent A's

Oakland boasts largest contingent on All-Star roster play video for Oakland boasts largest contingent on All-Star roster

OAKLAND -- Baseball's best team is finally getting the attention it deserves.

The first-place A's, who finished off a four-game sweep of the Blue Jays on Sunday to improve to 55-33, will be sending six players to this year's All-Star Game. No other club has more than four representatives.

Lefty Scott Kazmir will be making his third career trip to the Midsummer Classic, and he'll be joined by a handful of first-timers: third baseman Josh Donaldson, catcher Derek Norris, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss and closer Sean Doolittle.

Moreover, newly acquired hurler Jeff Samardzija, who made his A's debut Sunday after his trade from the Cubs less than 48 hours earlier, was named a National League All-Star but won't participate in the game.

"It's really cool. We were hoping for something like this," said manager Bob Melvin. "On the position-player end, it's something that's been a little while."

In earning a fan-elected start for the American League, Donaldson became the first A's player to do so since Jason Giambi made the start at first base for the 2000 All-Star Game in Atlanta.

The A's had not sent at least six players since 1975, when they had seven on the roster. They hadn't even had as many as four since 2003, which also marked the last time they sent a position player.

"This is great that there are so many representatives," said Donaldson. "I feel like it's very deserving. It's a pretty special moment for each and every one of us. I've been saying this for years, that we've had guys on this team that are very talented and eventually you'd see the hard work that we put in pay off."

Josh Donaldson, 3B
Prior ASGs: None
ASG team W-L: N/A
ASG stats: N/A
How he made 2014 AL team: Elected by fans
Why he's an All-Star: Donaldson emerged as one of the league's best at his position last year, ultimately finishing fourth in AL MVP Award voting despite being left off the All-Star team. Since, he's continued to prove why he belongs at the Midsummer Classic, not only providing plenty production in the middle of the order but stellar defense for the A's.
DYK?: Donaldson didn't even convert from catcher to third baseman until the start of the 2012 season, and it was only out of pure necessity, following a season-ending knee injury to then-incumbent Scott Sizemore. He's seen become an indispensable piece for the first-place A's.
Quotable: "If you had told me I was going to make an All-Star team a couple years ago, it was one of those things that really didn't seem possible," said Donaldson. "I'm excited that I'm getting the opportunity, and I'm even more excited for my teammates who will be joining."

Scott Kazmir, LHP
Prior ASGs: 2006, 2008
ASG team W-L: 2-0
ASG stats: 1-0, 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
How he made 2014 AL team: Manager selection
Why he's an All-Star: Kazmir has exuded consistency all season, giving the A's 110 1/3 innings while posting ace-like numbers along the way. The lefty has already racked up 10 wins in 18 starts, matching his total from all of last year with the Indians, and has fanned 99 batters and walked only 26.
DYK?: Kazmir was out of professional baseball for the majority of 2011 and all of '12 while toying with lost mechanics. The former Mets first-round Draft pick found himself pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League, leading to a career renaissance with the Indians on a $1 million deal last year. Oakland then inked him to a two-year, $22 million contract.
Quotable: "As a whole," said Kazmir, "I feel like this is going to be so much more special than any other ones I've been to, just because of how many guys we've got elected."

Sean Doolittle, LHP
Prior ASGs: None
ASG team W-L: N/A
ASG stats: N/A
How he made 2014 AL team: Manager selection
Why he's an All-Star: Doolittle's 61:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio says it all. His numbers are downright silly, and his ninth-inning presence has helped solidify Oakland's bullpen amid Jim Johnson's quick downfall. Lefty closers are of a rare breed, but the hard-throwing Doolittle has mostly made the job look easy. He has 13 saves in 16 opportunities this year.
DYK?: Doolittle was drafted by the A's as a first baseman seven years ago, and it was only after several injuries did he make the switch to the mound. He made his professional debut as a pitcher on Aug. 29, 2011, in the Arizona Rookie League and was in Oakland for his Major League debut just 10 months later.
Quotable: "It still hasn't sunk in yet to be honest. It's a pretty surreal feeling that I got selected to a Major League All-Star team," Doolittle said. "It's been such an unbelievable ride already here, and to throw this on top of everything that's happened for me and for this team in my career is pretty special."

Derek Norris, C
Prior ASGs: None
ASG team W-L: N/A
ASG stats: N/A
How he made 2014 AL team: Manager selection
Why he's an All-Star: Norris has quietly led AL catchers in nearly every offensive category this season, a nod to his improved production against right-handers. The 25-year-old, resigned to a strict platoon last year, has been hitting both sides with consistency in his third big league season.
DYK?: Norris was brought to the A's with lefty Tommy Milone in a deal that sent Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals in 2011. Still just 25, Norris projects a maturity beyond his years and looks the part, too, with an impressive beard.
Quotable: "Pretty surreal right now. It hasn't quite sunken it," said Norris. "It was definitely one of my goals growing up, to be an All-Star. Individually, I think you want to be regarded as one of the best in the game. It's a very special moment to have for sure."

Yoenis Cespedes, OF
Prior ASGs: None
ASG team W-L: N/A
ASG stats: N/A
How he made 2014 AL team: Elected by fans
Why he's an All-Star: Cespedes' power still excites, but it's his cannon of an arm that's kept him in the spotlight this season. Oakland's left fielder has made a handful of highlight-reel throws, and he's tied for first among all outfielders with 10 assists. He has 29 total since making his debut in 2012.
DYK?: The Cuban slugger won last year's Home Run Derby at Citi Field with a dazzling display in front of several family members, beating Bryce Harper in the final round to become the first player left out of the All-Star Game to take home the crown.
Quotable: "To be part of the All-Star team with six more guys is special," Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto. "I also feel so happy to again be part of the Home Run Derby."

Brandon Moss, OF
Prior ASGs: None
ASG team W-L: N/A
ASG stats: N/A
How he made 2014 AL team: Player selection
Why he's an All-Star: Moss may still be flying under the radar a bit from a national perspective, but the A's have long touted his status as one of the game's elite power hitters. Since the 2013 All-Star break, only Miguel Cabrera has more RBIs (109) than Moss (105), and only Edwin Encarnacion (37) and Giancarlo Stanton (35) have more home runs than his total of 33. He has 19 this year, tied with Donaldson for the team high.
DYK?: It wasn't so long ago Moss was bouncing around as a journeyman, swinging back and forth from the Majors to the Minors while spending his offseasons working odd jobs, including stints at a gas station and golf course. The A's reeled him in on a Minor League deal in December 2011, and he's been raking ever since his June 2012 callup.
Quotable: "We've all taken pretty nontraditional paths to have this opportunity, and I think we're all the more thankful for it," said Moss. "Nothing was taken for granted, and nothing was promised to any of us, and we've all worked extremely hard to have this opportunity."

Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters on Sunday, fans began voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each league until the winners are announced after the voting concludes on Thursday at 1 p.m. PT.

The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans help choose the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com and via Twitter in the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

MLB.TV Premium subscribers, for the first time, will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 platforms that support MLB.TV, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["all_star" ] }
{"event":["all_star" ] }