First-time All-Stars Sean Murphy, Orlando Arcia react to spot in NL lineup

Outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. will be starting his fourth consecutive All-Star game next month, and unlike last year, he won’t be the only Brave in the lineup. Joining Acuña are two of his teammates: catcher Sean Murphy and shortstop Orlando Arcia, both first-time All-Stars.

While Acuña was still honored by the inclusion, it always was expected. He led all National League players in votes, earning an automatic start. Murphy and Arcia are proud to be All-Stars, playing in the Midsummer Classic on July 11 in Seattle.

“I think that any player who ever reaches the big leagues, I think that’s part of the dream, to be selected to play in an All-Star game,” Arcia said through interpreter Franco García. “I’m very grateful, and I’m grateful to all the fans who went out and voted for me. I appreciate the support.”

Murphy told his parents he was announced as a starter. He’s not one for individual accolades, but when his dad became emotional, he realized how special it was. He plans to fly both of them to Seattle.

“That was the best part,” Murphy said. “My parents have been there for me this whole time and them getting so excited and so happy (meant a lot to me).”

Like Murphy, Arcia celebrated with his family. He was at home with his wife and his twin daughters when he found out.

Arcia’s All-Star season has come out of nowhere. In spring training, he battled Vaughn Grissom to be the Braves’ starting shortstop. Now, fans have recognized him as the NL’s top shortstop after Arcia has batted .303, 55 points above his career average.

“My only goal (in spring training) was just to come in, do my work, work hard, give 100% of my effort and let my bosses make the tough decisions,” Arcia said.

Murphy made the team in his first season in a Braves uniform. The catcher spent the first four years of his career in Oakland. In his first season in Atlanta, he has 13 home runs, 44 RBIs and a .289 batting average. He’s thankful to fans for electing him.

“It’s better when the fans like you,” Murphy joked. “I don’t think that’s very controversial. But I’m so happy to be here. Just getting to play here every night and play in front of these fans is awesome.”

He’s most looking forward to watching the Home Run Derby in person. Acuña has participated in the derby in the past, but said he wouldn’t this year.

Acuña doesn’t have a favorite part of All-Star Week, saying it’s a cool experience overall.

“If it was up to me, I’d go every year,” he joked.

All three Braves say it’s special to be joining each other in the starting lineup. Three selections is tied with the Dodgers for the most in the NL, while the Rangers lead baseball with four.

However, Arcia expects that there will be more than three Braves on the team in Seattle.

“I’m hoping a few more guys get named to the team as well as reserves,” Arcia said. “Hopefully, we have a few of us out there.”

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