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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | September 28, 2020

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Clippers All-Stars Shine Tonight in Buffalo

By Evan Matsumoto

The International League announced the rosters for the 25th International League All-Star game in late June.

Four members of the Columbus Clippers organization—Matt LaPorta, Cord Phelps, Russ Canzler and manager Mike Sarbaugh—will be representing the squad in Buffalo, New York this evening.

LaPorta is no stranger to all-star games—in 2008, LaPorta was named to the Double-A and Minor League All-Star teams by Baseball America. The now three-time All-Star also represented the United States in the same year at the Olympics in Beijing, China.

The six-foot-one, 220-pound infielder belted the first homerun and, three months later, the first grand slam at the Clippers’ new Huntington Park in 2008. His homerun production this year garnered him a bid for the AAA Home-Run Derby as well as the All-Star game.

At 27 years old, LaPorta is the youngest of his IL counterparts; Charlotte’s Dan Johnson (32) and Buffalo’s Valentino Pascucci (33) will also be representing the IL in the derby.

Canzler was selected by the Chicago Cubs’ organization in the 30th round of the 2004 MLB Draft. After a stint with Tampa Bay’s minor league affiliate, he was traded to Cleveland in January 2012.

“Anytime you get named to an All-Star team, it’s a very prestigious honor,” Canzler said. “I was fortunate enough to go to the game last year and had a really good experience.”

A Hazelton, Pennsylvania native, this will be Canzler’s second appearance as an IL All-Star. Canzler played in the Triple-A All-Star game last season as a part of the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay). He was also named to the IL’s postseason All-Star Team as well as being recognized as the league’s Most Valuable Player.

“We’re excited to represent the Indians organization and the International League,” Canzler said. “We won last year so hopefully we can do it again this year.”

This year’s All-Star game marks the first for Phelps, an infielder. After being drafted by the Tribe in the 3rd round of the 2008 MLB Draft, Phelps was named the best Defensive Second Baseman as well as having the Best Strikezone Judgment by Baseball America in 2009. He was selected as a postseason Carolina All-Star in the same year.

“Obviously (it’s) a nice honor and it will be fun to play with LaPorta and Russell and have Sarbaugh there too,” Phelps said. “It’s an opportunity to perform under a little bigger spotlight and help you get more experience with that.”

Sarbaugh, who will be managing the 2012 All-Star team, was named Manager of the year in 2011

The Clippers have been in the IL since 1977 and, since joining the league, no team has won more IL awards than Columbus; the last 35 years have produced eight Most Valuable Players, six Most Valuable Pitchers, five Rookies of the Year and two Managers of the Year. Their 21 IL awards are three more than the second most— the Pawtucket Red Sox have18 IL awards.

Photo: Columbus Clippers

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