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Austin Hays named as AL starting outfielder for All-Star Game

With two starting outfielders injured, Austin Hays has been promoted into the starting lineup for the game

Cincinnati Reds v Baltimore Orioles
Austin Hays: All-Star starter.
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

When the votes were all counted, Orioles outfielder Austin Hays was nowhere near one of the starting spots in the lineup. Hays was named as a reserve in part thanks to being near the league lead in batting average.

With injuries suffered by two voted starters, Aaron Judge and Mike Trout, Hays has made it into the starting lineup after all. The league announced Hays as a replacement starter on Friday afternoon. The Orioles will have a position player among the starters after all. Also getting the bump from reserve to starting lineup is Texas outfielder Adolis García.

Hays has needed to manage an injury of his own in order to be able to play in the game. He hasn’t appeared since July 2 against the Twins, when he suffered a collision running through first base. That’s four straight games where he hasn’t played, normally the kind of thing where you’d be wondering if maybe a guy ought to be on the injured list instead.

With Hays having been selected to the All-Star team, it seems like the Orioles may have been less aggressive with the IL to keep him available to participate in Seattle. If he ends up back in the lineup on Friday night’s game, also against the Twins, that won’t be too weird of an absence to not have a guy go on the IL. If he still isn’t playing tonight, well, you know. It’ll look strange.

In the grand scheme of things, it of course doesn’t mean anything whether the Orioles do or don’t have an All-Star starter. Even so, it’s fun that if an O’s fan tunes in for the game, an Oriole will be announced with the starting lineup. This is the best season of Hays’s career to date and he deserves to be recognized for that. Hopefully he can both enjoy the Seattle All-Star experience and be rested for the start of the second half.