Baseball

Francisco Lindor selected for All-Star Futures Game

csmith@newsobserver.comJuly 7, 2013 

— Carolina Mudcats shortstop Francisco Lindor continues to earn recognition as one of the brightest stars in the minor leagues.

The switch-hitting Lindor was selected for the Sirius/XM All-Star Futures Game on July 14 at Citi Field, home of the Mets. The selection is the 19-year-old’s second for an All-Star team.

He will join the World team and play against the USA team, being a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico.

“To make any All-Star team is an honor and a blessing,” Lindor said. “Being named to a Futures game is pretty big. I’m just happy to represent the Indians and the World team as well. For me, getting better every day is the goal. This is a great opportunity to do that.”

Last year, multiple current MLB players – including Baltimore’s Manny Machado and Tampa Bay’s Jake Odorizzi and Wil Myers – were on the USA roster that took down Lindor’s team, 17-5, at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

With several members of his team like Texas’ Jurickson Profar and Milwaukee’s Jean Segura making their MLB debut this season, Lindor said it inspires him to work harder.

“Knowing what guys on past teams have done gives me more drive and more fuel in my tank,” Lindor said. “I push myself to make it to the bigs and help any team that I’m a part of win. So this just gives me more motivation to prove that I’m there for a reason.

“I’ll take motivation from anything any day of the week.”

The No. 14 prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com, Lindor is hitting .305 with 15 doubles, 24 RBI, 42 runs and 18 stolen bases this season.

Lindor routinely talks about trying to improve his game and helping his team, but Ross Atkins, Indians’ vice president of player development, had high praise for his team’s No. 1 prospect.

“He’s been unbelievable,” Atkins said in a release. “Every night (he) gets two or three hits, makes an exceptional play. The things that were very, very small limitations or just goals for him, he seems to be taking off the list one at a time.

“His leadership, his commitment, his professionalism – we haven’t experienced anything like that from a high school player.”

In his only appearance at the plate last season, Lindor hit a single and said he hopes to continue that success this year. As for the biggest thing he took away from last season, the shortstop didn’t hesitate to mention the fan support.

“I learned a lot last year because it helped me open my eyes to the type of things that can happen once you make it to the bigs,” he said.

“We played in front of 45,000 fans last year, so it was awesome. It was a great experience last year and I’m stoked to get out there and do it again.”

Lindor went to New York City when he was a member of USA Baseball and talked to former members of Team USA at Citi Field, but has never played in the stadium.

“I can’t wait to actually be in the clubhouse and put on that uniform,” Lindor said. “Last year, Kansas City was awesome with the big crown scoreboard, but playing in New York should be amazing.

“Instead of watching people play on fields like that, I get to be a part of it.”

Smith: 919-829-4841; Twitter: @RCorySmith

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