It's been a Craig Kimbrel-centered day. First, the Red Sox traded for Diamondbacks closer Brad Ziegler. Then they announced Kimbrel would miss the rest of July due to knee surgery. Now, MLB has announced Kimbrel's replacement in the All-Star Game: Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez.
Sanchez joins four other Blue Jays on the AL All-Star team, including fellow starter Marco Estrada, who, obviously enough, will miss the game after being placed on the disabled list on Wednesday.
Sanchez's appointment to the American League squad is the latest sign that his transition to the rotation has been a success. In addition to improving upon his strikeout, strikeout-to-walk, and ERA+ figures from last season, he's also paced the Blue Jays in innings per start -- an impressive achievement, given he's the youngest pitcher in the Toronto rotation, having turned 24 little more than a week ago.
You can make the case that Sanchez should've been on the team all along. He ranks fifth among qualified AL starting pitchers in ERA+ (the four ahead of him, including Estrada, were each on the team already), and eighth in innings pitched. Few pitchers have been able to match Sanchez's combination of results and length this season, and he'll get to enjoy a few days in San Diego as a result.
The All-Star Game will take place on Tuesday night. You can check out the full rosters here.