suntimes
IMPERFECT 
Weather Updates

Bryan LaHair joins Starlin Castro as Cubs’ All-Stars

Updated: August 3, 2012 6:26AM



Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro worried when he didn’t find out immediately Sunday if he’d made the All-Star team for a second straight year.

When manager Dale Sveum called a meeting and told the whole team, the big surprise was who was joining Castro: longtime minor-leaguer Bryan LaHair.

‘‘It’s one of those things as a manager that you get that’s a special time,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘You tell a kid who’s [29] he’s an All-Star after so many years in the minors. That’s what we live for in this game, those special moments.’’

Both Castro and LaHair were selected by player balloting.

‘‘This is amazing,’’ said LaHair, who ironically has lost the first-base job to Anthony Rizzo and now plays the outfield. ‘‘Dale told us in the meeting. All the guys said they voted for me. It’s just an incredible feeling. I can’t thank [the players] enough.

‘‘It was a dream as a little boy to be an All Star, but to have it happen so fast, it’s just a dream.’’

LaHair is in his first full season, hitting .284 with 13 homers and 28 RBI. He appeared in 45 games with the Seattle Mariners in 2008.

His breakout year came last season at Class AAA Iowa when he hit a team-record 38 homers and was named MVP of the Pacific Coast League.

He was promoted to the Cubs in September and given the first-base job to start this season.

For Castro, 22, his second All-Star game is part of a goal.

‘‘As a little boy [in the Dominican Republic], I saw a lot of baseball games and players who made the All-Star team, and I thought, ‘I want to be one every year,’ ’’ he said.

‘‘I’m happy for LaHair, too,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ll take him around.’’

Castro is hitting .298 and is the only National League player to have started all his team’s games.

‘‘Since the start of the season, I don’t know if there’s been a better shortstop in baseball,’’ Sveum said. ‘‘He’s improved his footwork coming across the bag [on double plays]. Now he’s getting the ball and throwing in one motion. He’s getting guys [out] by a step or two.’’

LaHair said he would take part in the Home Run Derby if asked. And Castro, who tied a record with two stolen bases in last year’s game, said he hopes to do something ‘‘special’’ again.

The Cubs have their first multiple All-Stars since 2008, when eight players made the team.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.