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Orioles infielder Westburg selected as All-Star Game replacement

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BALTIMORE — Hours after acknowledging some disappointment in not being selected to next week’s All-Star Game, Orioles infielder Jordan Westburg learned he would be going to the Midsummer Classic after all.

Replacing Boston third baseman Rafael Devers on the American League roster, Westburg is the fourth Baltimore player to be a 2024 All-Star selection, joining shortstop Gunnar Henderson, catcher Adley Rutschman, and starting pitcher Corbin Burnes. The Orioles also sent four players — Rutschman, outfielder Austin Hays, and relief pitchers Felix Bautista and Yennier Cano — to last year’s All-Star Game.

After a solid but unspectacular rookie year, Westburg has really blossomed in his first full major league season to become the Orioles’ third best position player behind only Henderson and Rutschman. Entering Tuesday’s series opener against the Chicago Cubs, the 25-year-old was batting .281 with 14 home runs, 20 doubles, five triples, 49 runs batted in, and an .835 on-base plus slugging percentage.

Westburg has also played strong defense at third base while continuing to receive plenty of starts at second, the position he primarily played as a rookie. According to both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, Westburg has been worth 2.8 wins above replacement, which further strengthened his case to be in Arlington next week.

“He does everything right,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He literally does everything right — the way he prepares, the way he plays. … He just plays the right way, so hard, prepares incredibly well. He just does everything right. The way he’s handling the media, he does a great job with that as well. He’s just very, very professional and a really, really good player. I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity to manage him as well as so many other guys in there.”

Westburg was voted an All-Star finalist at third base by fans before ultimately losing out to Cleveland superstar Jose Ramirez as the starter in the AL. Devers and Tampa Bay’s Isaac Paredes were chosen as the reserve third basemen, but the former is bowing out of the All-Star Game due to left shoulder soreness.

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Many also opined that the versatile Westburg was more deserving than Texas second baseman Marcus Semien as the backup to All-Star starter Jose Altuve.

“I was very honored and humbled by the fact that I was in those conversations,” Westburg said a few hours before Tuesday’s announcement. “It was something coming into the year I certainly would not have expected. I have confidence in my abilities, but I would never think I would be in talks halfway through the year to be an All-Star.”

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