DETROIT — At last, Anthony Rendon is an all-star.
The Washington Nationals’ third baseman on Sunday was selected to his first Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and he’ll join ace Max Scherzer, who will make his seventh consecutive appearance. The game is July 9 in Cleveland.
Rendon, 29, is in a contract year and having probably the best first half of his career, hitting .311 with 19 home runs and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.028. But he is infamously attention-averse, and he has maintained throughout the season — in a manner that makes it difficult to tell whether he’s joking — that he wouldn’t want to attend the All-Star Game because of the players’ many obligations to MLB and the media.
“I hear it’s no rest, so that’s not a good thing,” Rendon said after he learned he was an all-star. “They said your schedule is jam-packed and you’re going to events or whatever, or you’re doing interviews or whatever it might be. So it seems like it’s right up my alley.”
Rendon quickly added that the nagging injury he has been playing through might change his mind about attending. Instead of heading to Cleveland, he might want to work with the training staff to get right for the season’s second half.
“It’ll be funny how it’s going to play out, if I decide to go,” he said.
After the Nationals beat the Detroit Tigers, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon, Manager Dave Martinez brought the team together in the clubhouse to laud Scherzer and Rendon, whom he called “the rookie of the All-Star Game for us.”
“It amazes me he hasn’t been an all-star,” said Martinez, who campaigned for his third baseman throughout the voting process. “I said [to Rendon], ‘Go out there, have fun, enjoy it.’ ”
When pressed, Rendon conceded the selection “definitely meant a lot” to him. He joked that, if he wanted to make the all-star team, he should play a different position because third base in the National League is full of talent — including the Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado (this year’s starter), the Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant (a reserve) and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner (not selected). The last time Rendon made an all-star team was in Little League.
“My parents still have my brother’s and I’s [all-star jerseys], so it’s pretty funny when they dig them up from the attic,” he said. “But [I’m] definitely very appreciative of being selected.”
Scherzer, meanwhile, is plenty excited.
“For this to be seven, it’s amazing,” he said. “It’s crazy that this is happening. But you just take it. I know it’s a party. I’ll be going to Cleveland ready to party.”
Scherzer started the All-Star Game each of the past two years — including last season at Nationals Park — but demurred when asked whether he’d like to do so again this season. He has one more start before the all-star break — set to be Saturday against the visiting Kansas City Royals — and he said he wants to focus on that game for now.
Still, the trip comes at a chaotic time. Scherzer and his wife, Erica, are expecting their second child soon. Thinking about the next few weeks, he concluded, “There won’t be much sleep.”
Scherzer said he had already talked to Rendon and told him what to expect, including the “nice atmosphere” of being in the same clubhouse as the best players in the game.
“He’ll be fine; he’s so low-key,” Scherzer joked. “He’s going to enjoy it.”
On Sunday, the right-hander pitched eight innings of one-run ball and walked none while striking out 14. Even for a three-time Cy Young Award winner, Scherzer is in one of the best stretches of his career: In his past eight starts, he has a 0.95 ERA, 83 strikeouts and eight walks in 57 innings.
“The accolades keep building up for him, and he keeps getting better,” Martinez said. “I’m proud of both of those guys. Well-deserved.”
The full rosters:
C Willson Contreras, Cubs
1B Freddie Freeman, Braves
2B Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks
3B Nolan Arenado, Rockies
SS Javier Baez, Cubs
OF Christian Yelich, Brewers
OF Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
OF Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves
C: Yasmani Grandal, Brewers; J.T. Realmuto, Phillies
1B: Pete Alonso, Mets; Josh Bell, Pirates
2B: Mike Moustakas, Brewers
3B: Kris Bryant, Cubs; Anthony Rendon, Nationals
SS: Paul DeJong, Cardinals; Trevor Story, Rockies
OF: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies; David Dahl, Rockies; Jeff McNeil, Mets
RHP: Sandy Alcantara, Marlins; Walker Buehler, Dodgers; Luis Castillo, Reds; Jacob deGrom, Mets; Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks; Max Scherzer, Nationals; Mike Soroka, Braves; Kirby Yates, Padres
LHP: Josh Hader, Brewers; Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers; Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers; Will Smith, Giants
C Gary Sanchez, Yankees
1B Carlos Santana, Indians
2B DJ LeMahieu, Yankees
3B Alex Bregman, Astros
SS Jorge Polanco, Twins
OF Mike Trout, Angels
OF George Springer, Astros
OF Michael Brantley, Astros
C: James McCann, White Sox
1B: Jose Abreu, White Sox
2B: Tommy La Stella, Angels; Whit Merrifield, Royals
3B: Matt Chapman, Athletics
SS: Francisco Lindor, Indians
OF: Mookie Betts, Red Sox; Joey Gallo, Rangers; Austin Meadows, Rays
DH: J.D. Martinez, Red Sox; Daniel Vogelbach, Mariners
RHP: Gerrit Cole, Astros; Lucas Giolito, White Sox; Shane Greene, Tigers; Charlie Morton, Rays; Jake Odorizzi, Twins; Ryan Pressly, Astros; Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays; Justin Verlander, Astros
LHP: Brad Hand, Indians; Aroldis Chapman, Yankees; John Means, Orioles; Mike Minor, Rangers