September 20, 2014

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It’s not all bad news for Indians: Jason Kipnis and Justin Masterson named to All-Star Game

CLEVELAND — The Indians will have a pair of representatives in the All-Star Game on July 16 at New York’s Citi Field.

Starting pitcher Justin Masterson and second baseman Jason Kipnis were selected as reserves for the American League team. Both were named to the Midsummer Classic for the first time.

“(Masterson) is a kid I saw pitch his first big league game,” said Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who managed Masterson during the right-hander’s rookie season in Boston in 2008. “Now he’s going to represent us in the All-Star Game.

“Kip just literally played himself into the game. You couldn’t keep him off the team.”

Both players were selected by Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who will lead the AL team.

After a slow start, Kipnis caught fire, raising his average to .296 through Saturday — thanks in large part to his production in June, for which he was named American League player of the month.

He leads the Indians in batting average, RBIs (54), hits (87), on-base percentage (.380) and stolen bases (19) and has 13 home runs in 77 games. His RBI count is second only to New York’s Robinson Cano among AL second baseman. Cano was voted in by fans to start.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” Kipnis said. “It’s definitely something every player wants to experience at least once. I didn’t take the smoothest path, but I worked my way back.”

Masterson (10-7, 3.78 ERA) has posted a league-high three complete games — all shutouts — and leads the AL with 1282⁄3⅔ innings pitched, while ranking third in strik­eouts (131) and fourth in wins.

“I just feel honored,” Masterson said. “It’s awesome to have someone else come with you. It’s pretty cool that Jason and I will be representing the Tribe.”

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter at @CAwesomeheimer.