WASHINGTON -- For the second year in a row, Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will be part of the All-Star festivities. Unlike last year, he expects to play in the game.
Zimmermann didn't play in last year's Midsummer Classic because of neck issues, but he did take his family to Citi Field in New York.
According to Zimmermann, Minnesota is three hours away from his home town of Auburndale, Wis., so he plans to take his family to the special event again. Zimmermann found out he was going to be an All-Star before Sunday's 2-1 win against the Cubs. Manager Matt Williams held a team meeting and gave the news to the entire team.
"It's a huge honor," Zimmermann said after pitching six scoreless innings in the game. "I'm excited. I wouldn't be going if it wasn't for those guys who play defense behind me every day and our catchers calling the pitches. I don't have high strikeout numbers. I let the batter put it in play. Those guys make the plays behind me. As much as it's me going, it actually those guys, too."
Considered by many to be the ace of the Nationals' pitching staff, Zimmermann is having another solid season, going 6-4 with a 2.79 ERA. Zimmermann has been strong for more than a month. In his last seven starts, Zimmermann has three wins with a 1.26 ERA. He's found his slider, which was missing during the first two months of the season.
"Five weeks ago, I was thinking I would be on vacation [for the All-Star break]," Zimmermann said. "I just started throwing strikes and locating better. The slider finally came back. I didn't have it for a month and a half. I was able to get that back. That's a big pitch."
Williams said he is happy that Zimmermann can represent the Nationals in the All-Star Game.
"It's a special thing, so he will have a lot of fun," Williams said. "Anytime a player gets to go and be a part of that, it's a special time. We are looking forward to seeing him compete. We are proud of him and he deserves it."
Zimmermann was also thinking about other teammates who didn't make the All-Star team. He felt closer Rafael Soriano should have been part of the team. Soriano has a 1.03 ERA and 21 saves.
"There are some guys who are deserving -- Soriano being one of them. He is having a great year," Zimmermann said.
Jordan Zimmermann, P
Prior ASGs: 2013
ASG W-L: 0-1
ASG Stats: DNP
How he made 2014 AL/NL team: Selected by the Cardinals manager Mike Matheny
Why he's an All-Star: He found his slider in June and put up gaudy numbers for more than a month. In his last seven starts, Zimmermann has three wins with a 1.26 ERA.
DYK?: Zimmermann was part of the All-Star team last year but didn't play because of neck problems. He did go to New York and was in attendance.
Quotable: "It's a huge honor. I'm excited. I wouldn't be going if it wasn't for those guys who play defense behind me every day and our catchers calling the pitches. I don't have high strikeout numbers. I let the batter put it in play. Those guys make the plays behind me. As much as it's me going, it actually those guys, too." - Zimmermann
Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League 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 4 p.m. ET.
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.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less