Holland tabbed to give Royals three All-Stars
Closer joins Gordon, Perez as Kansas City's first trio since '88 Classic
CLEVELAND -- Make it three All-Stars for the Kansas City Royals.
Closer Greg Holland was added to the American League team as a replacement pitcher after Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma and Oakland's Bartolo Colon were ruled out of competing because they started their team's games on Sunday.
Holland joins catcher Salvador Perez and left fielder Alex Gordon to give the Royals three players on the All-Star team for the first time since 1988. That's the year that first baseman George Brett made his 13th and last All-Star appearance and was joined by pitcher Mark Gubicza and shortstop Kurt Stillwell.
"It's exciting," Holland said. "I thought a lot about it leading up to it and I didn't get in, but I was so happy for Salvy and Gordo that it was kind of easy to move on from."
Holland, a low-key guy anyway, had a rather muted reaction when he got the news following the Royals' 6-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday afternoon. It was their fifth straight loss.
"I'm just a little bummed out on how we've been doing these last five games," Holland said. "I'm sure it'll set in at some point but, obviously, I'm just excited to get the opportunity to see some of the best players in the world play baseball."
Holland didn't say so, but now he's a member of that select group for Tuesday night's game at New York's Citi Field.
"Hopefully they'll give me a uniform and everything," Holland said.
Holland, 27, has quickly established himself as one of the game's premier closers after taking over the job at midseason last year. This season, he has 22 saves in 24 opportunities including 15 in a row.
After a rough beginning to 2013 -- Holland gave up four runs on the season-opening road trip -- he has yielded just five runs since and only three earned for a 0.82 ERA in 33 innings during that period. His overall ERA is 1.82 and his won-lost record is 2-1.
Holland has piled up 60 strikeouts in just 35 innings, striking out the side on nine occasions. He's issued just 10 unintentional walks.
"I'm extremely happy about that," manager Ned Yost said of Holland's selection. "He's well-deserving and we were hoping that would be the case and luckily for us, it happened. Three representatives for the Kansas City Royals is a great accomplishment."
This is the 11th time in club history that the Royals have had three or more players on the AL team.
"I'm so excited, I'm just glad that we've got a pitcher going," starter James Shields said. "I think our staff has been doing a good job this first half of keeping us in the game and doing a good job of pitching. So, I'm glad Holly gets to go. He's been phenomenal all season long and I'm really happy for him."
Holland is the second member of the Royals' current bullpen to earn an All-Star trip in the last three years. Aaron Crow was the team's lone representative in 2011. Former Royals closer Joakim Soria was picked for the 2010 Midsummer Classic.
"I hope he gets a chance to go in there and pitch," said fellow reliever Tim Collins. "He doesn't even look excited to go. As good as his numbers are, he doesn't realize he's an All-Star. He's one of those guys who just goes out there and does his job. I'm happy for him."
It was certainly a late-breaking development.
"I found out when we walked in," Holland said. "It'd been better if we'd have won today but, yeah, it's one of those things you grow up as a kid and you imagine you're going to be in a World Series and play in an All-Star Game, so it's a dream come true."
Was he packed for this eventuality?
"I've got a lot of golf shirts. I don't know if that'll pass, but we'll see what happens," he said.
Can he get the word to family and friends to quickly gather in New York?
"I hope so. I assume my mom and my dad will be able to make it," Holland said of his family in North Carolina. "I'm sure my brother will be there. He's got a really flexible schedule."
And what about a plane reservation?
No problem. The Glass family was providing a private jet for Gordon and Perez plus the Indians' two All-Stars. Would there be room?
"Absolutely," Gordon said.
Holland is certainly well-rested. He last pitched on Tuesday, closing out the Royals' last victory at Yankee Stadium. That was his second save in two nights.
AL manager Jim Leyland, no doubt, will be paying attention to that when he's sifting through candidates for face the National League.
"Hopefully, I'll get in there," Holland said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.