CINCINNATI -- Manager Rick Renteria called a team meeting after Thursday's 6-4, 12-inning victory that ignited a loud roar from the visitor's clubhouse.
Renteria broke the news that Anthony Rizzo won the National League Final Vote to Tuesday's All-Star Game in Minneapolis that completed an eventful four days and capped a remarkable first-half comeback for the Cubs' first baseman.
"I had no idea," said Rizzo, a first-time All-Star who will join shortstop Starlin Castro and former Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija, who was traded to the Athletics on July 4. "It's great, it's awesome. On top of (victory), what could be better?"
Thanks to a relentless campaign, Rizzo received 8.8 million of the 52.5 million votes cast for 10 players from the American and National leagues. Rizzo edged Justin Morneau of the Rockies despite a groundswell of support for his July 15 return to Target Field, where he starred for most of his career with the Twins. White Sox starter Chris Sale was the American League winner with 6.7 million votes.
Rizzo hit three home runs since the campaign started Sunday night and currently has a .277 batting average with 20 home runs and 49 RBIs. Rizzo is only three home runs shy of equaling his 2013 total.
The fact he will join Castro, who batted only .245 last season, signals a significant accomplishment for the organization. Both players, each 24, slumped last season after receiving contract extensions through the 2019 season.
"It's good for the kids in the minors to see young kids in the big leagues and don't think they're that far away to being here next year," Rizzo said. "The more All-Stars you have, the better off you are as an organization so I just want to continue to get better. I know Castro and everyone else does, too."
Rizzo and Castro will be presented with their All-Star jerseys before Friday's game against the Braves at Wrigley Field.
"Everyone is proud of them, and they should enjoy this particular time," Renteria said. "It's a tremendous feat."
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