WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Washington pitcher Jordan Zimmermann had more on his mind than the Chicago Cubs when he took the mound July 6 at Nationals Park. And most of the thoughts were good ones.
A mild-mannered right-hander from a tiny town in Wisconsin, Zimmermann said he had learned during a meeting before the game that he had been named to the National League All-Star team for the second time. The All-Star rosters were officially announced later July 6, and the game will be July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Zimmermann went out and threw six scoreless innings against the Cubs, a team he had a record of 1-4 against -- with four one-run losses -- during his six previous starts. This time, Washington was on the winning end of a one-run decision against the Cubs. The Nationals won, 2-1, even though Zimmermann did not figure in the decision.
Zimmermann is 6-4 with a 2.79 ERA (10th in NL) during 18 starts so far this year. He has not allowed a home run at home since April 9 against the Miami Marlins. He is on track to pitch July 11 in Philadelphia against the Phillies.
"It means a lot," Zimmermann told reporters after his outing July 6. "It's a huge honor, and I'm excited. I wouldn't be going if it wasn't for those guys that play defense behind me every day, the catchers calling the pitches."
Zimmermann said it was an added bonus that the game would be in Minnesota, a few hours from his hometown in Wisconsin. He said he hoped to have family and friends on hand.
"It's quite an honor for him," Washington manager Matt Williams told reporters after the July 6 game about Zimmermann. "I think he's earned it. He's been fantastic for us. We're happy for him, that he has a chance to go represent us and be a part of it. It's a special thing. He'll have a lot of fun."
Zimmermann did not appear in the All-Star game the first time he was chosen, which was in 2013 in New York at the home of the Mets.
"It's special," Williams said. "Any time a player gets to be a part of that, it's a special time. So we're looking forward to seeing him compete. We're proud of him. He deserves it."
Washington infielder Anthony Rendon, who is hitting .282 with 21 doubles and 12 homers, also has a chance to make the All-Star team. He is one of five finalists for the final spot on the NL roster. The player will be chosen by The Final Vote, of which fans can take part.
"I just think he's played really well," Williams said. "The fact that he's in that final grouping says a lot about his season and the way he's played. He's handled himself very well for being a very good player. He certainly deserves consideration, that's for sure."
Rendon has played third base and second base this season.
Others contending for the final spot are Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs, who concluded a three-game series in Washington, D.C., July 6; Casey McGehee of the Marlins; Justin Morneau of the Rockies (who played at Nationals Park June 30-July 2); and Atlanta outfielder Justin Upton, who is from the Tidewater region of Virginia.