Braves manager Gonzalez is on All-Star coaching staff

Fredi Gonzalez's Braves are tied for the NL East division lead at 34-29.
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Fredi Gonzalez's Braves are tied for the NL East division lead at 34-29.

Credit: Ross D. Franklin / AP

Credit: Ross D. Franklin / AP

DENVER –Fredi Gonzalez was a rookie major league manager with the Marlins in 2007 when he was asked to be on the National League All-Star coaching staff. When the Braves manager was asked to do it again this year, he accepted as quickly as he did the first time.

“When you get asked to do that, you’ve got to do it, because you don’t know when you’re going to get asked again,” said Gonzalez, who was named along with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle to serve as coaches on Cardinals manager Mike Matheny’s NL coaching staff, along with Matheny’s St. Louis coaches.

For a manager, the only guaranteed way to take part in the All-Star game is to be the manager of a team that won a league pennant the previous year. The managers of the AL and NL champions serve as All-Star managers and select their coaching staffs.

Gonzalez and Matheny aren’t close friends, so Gonzalez was surprised when the Cardinals manager first asked him about it late in the spring. The All-Star game will be played July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

“To get asked — it took me, oh, about 5 seconds to respond back to Mike,” said Gonzalez, who has known since the beginning of the season that he was going to be on the staff. The official announcement was made Tuesday.

American League All-Star manager John Farrell of the Red Sox selected Indians manager Terry Francona and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to serve as coaches on his All-Star staff, along with current Boston coaches.

When Gonzalez was selected in 2007 it was also by a Cardinals manager, Tony La Russa.

“It’s always fun to get mentioned,” Gonzalez said. “Who knows, maybe 13 other guys said no before they asked me and I said yes. But anyway… I know there are some guys, some coaches, that when they get asked they’ve turned it down because they’d rather have the four days off. But I would never do that. As long as I’m able to do that, I would accept.”

Gonzalez took along his son Alex, then 13, to the 2007 All-Star game in San Francisco. Gonzalez plans to bring Alex again this time, but the Braves manager will also bring his parents, who live in Miami. Gonzalez’s face lit up when he discussed that aspect of the trip.

“I’m excited.” He said. “Obviously we’ve still got a lot of baseball until we get to that point, but I’ll be excited to go out there and participate in all the festivities, and try to win. Because home-field advantage (for the World Series) is important….

“It’s the Midsummer Classic. To see all those great players, in a great venue, I don’t think you could ever get ho-hum about it. Me, personally, I don’t think I could turn it down.”

The Braves figure to have at least two All-Stars, pitchers Julio Teheran and closer Craig Kimbrel. Pitchers and most backup position players are selected by the manager, while starting position players are voted by the fans.

First baseman Freddie Freeman was third among NL first basemen in the latest fan-voting update and the only Brave reasonably close to the votes leader at his position. Catcher Evan Gattis, shortstop Andrelton Simmons and outfielder Justin Upton have also received a lot of votes, and Gonzalez mentioned all as All-Star possibilities.

Kimbrel, Freeman and former Braves catcher Brian McCann were All-Stars in 2013, the third consecutive year that Kimbrel made the team. The Braves had four All-Stars in 2012: Chipper Jones, Michael Bourn, Kimbrel and Dan Uggla, who was voted in as the starting second baseman.