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Twins DH Nelson Cruz named to American League All-Star team for seventh time

Players Choice Awards Baseball
FILE – In this Sept. 27, 2020, file photo, Minnesota Twins’ Nelson Cruz, center, smiles in the dugout after the Twins clinched the AL Central championship with the Chicago White Sox’s loss during the tenth inning of a baseball game in Minneapolis. Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz was voted Marvin Miller Man of the Year and Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was picked as Player of the Year in annual Players Choice award voting by the Major League Baseball Players Association.(AP Photo/Craig Lassig, File)

Three days after celebrating his 41st birthday, Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz celebrated his seventh selection to an All-Star Game. He was the only Twins player named to the American League team for the July 13 game in Colorado.

Cruz, who is in his third season with Minnesota, will be going to the All-Star Game for the first time as a member of the Twins. There was no All-Star Game last season during the pandemic-shortened year.

Cruz is leading the Twins in batting average (.306), home runs (18), RBIs (45), OBP (.381) and hits (77). Playing on a one-year contract, Cruz is expected to be moved before the July 30 trade deadline.

Center fielder Byron Buxton almost certainly would have been selected to represent the Twins as well but he’s sidelined by a broken left hand suffered last month in his third game back after missing 39 games because of a strained right hip. Buxton is slashing .369/.409/.767 with 10 home runs and 19 RBIs in 27 games.

Cruz’s previous All-Star selections came in 2009 and 2013 with Texas, 2014 with Baltimore and 2015, 2017 and 2018 with Seattle.

Five former Twins also made the All-Star rosters, including four pitchers. Kyle Gibson, who signed a three-year, $28 million contract with Texas before the 2020 season, is 6-0 with an American League-leading 1.98 ERA in 16 starts this year. He was 2-6 with a 5.35 ERA in 12 starts for the Rangers last year. Gibson spent his first seven season with the Twins.