(Busch Stadium) While the news of teammate Matt Carpenter being placed on the disabled list was unfortunate for the St. Louis Cardinals, there was a positive result that Aledmys Diaz has been named to take his place on the National League All-Star roster.
“It was pretty emotional,” said Diaz of learning the news. “My first month was crazy. To go and play against really good players…and lot of stars, it’s very exciting. Playing against great players that played years in the big leagues–Ortiz, his final year. So it’s pretty exciting for me.”
Diaz leads all National League shortstops and rookies with his .319 batting average, which is 6th overall in the league. He also leads the Cardinals with 14 defensive gems this season.
“We’d love to have (Carpenter) healthy still but one of those benefits is the fact that we’ll give Aledmys the kind of recognition he’s due and an opportunity for him,” said Mike Matheny. “Matt still has the honor of being part of that All-Star team which he deserves. It was nice being able to give that to Aledmys. He’s very stoic, professional, but also very honored.”
“Maybe not,” admitted Diaz when asked if he would have believed it if someone told him in Spring Training he would be an All-Star. “But I think this organization gives a lot of confidence in young players. They treat them the right way. They stayed with me my first two years, they gave me a lot of support and right now I feel like I can be an All-Star, I can play everyday, and I can help my team to win.”
As has been noted before, Diaz actually began his turnaround on the field after he was designated for assignment last season. After clearing waivers, he soon earned Texas League Player of the Week honors and a promotion to Memphis (AAA). Aledmys then continued his strong play in the Arizona Fall League and Spring Training.
“I think that’s the kind of story that needs to be talked about and remind everybody in there,” said Matheny of his clubhouse. “That’s what we’re asking of some of our players right now. Have a Moss go down, opportunity. Have a Carpenter go down, opportunity. What are you going to do with it? Don’t let anybody limit you. I’d say that’s the story of Aledmys Diaz right now. The fact he had that little chance and he jumped in. Had a crack in the door and he kicked it. He’s refusing to let it shut.”
“For my family, they’ll be there and always support me,” agreed Diaz on the selection being bigger than just for himself. “For my family, my coaches, in Cuba, and here–the organization, yeah this is for everybody.”
The Cardinals reached out soon after Carpenter was injured to MLB in regards to his All-Star status, but also to put a plug in for Diaz to replace him on the roster.
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI