Jordan Lennerton will rack up some serious frequent-flyer miles in the near future.
The crazy travel for the Mud Hens’ first baseman begins Saturday, when he flies from Louisville to New York City to play in major league baseball’s Futures Game at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets.
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On July 15, Lennerton will fly out of New York to Reno for the Triple-A All-Star Game to take part in the festivities July 16-17. Then after playing in the All-Star game, Lennerton will fly back to Buffalo on July 18 to rejoin the Hens for their series against the Bisons.
“I’m anxious to get this week started,” Lennerton said. “I’m honored and very excited.
“It’s going to be a lot of travel, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Lennerton, a native of the Vancouver suburb of Langley, B.C., was chosen to play first base for the World Team in the Futures Game, which will start at 2 p.m. on July 14 and be televised on ESPN2.
He entered Saturday’s game among the International League leaders with a .306 batting average, and he has 13 home runs and 43 RBIs. He also ranks among the IL leaders with a .411 on-base percentage thanks to 58 walks in 88 games.
“I was caught completely off guard by [my selection to the Futures Game],” Lennerton admitted. “I saw it on Twitter, and soon after that I talked with [Hens manager] Phil [Nevin] about it to confirm it.
“Then I called friends and family to let them know.”
He will be one of the reserves for the International League team in the Triple-A All-Star Game July 17 starting at 9 p.m. It will be broadcast on MLB Network.
Lennerton is one of two Mud Hens who will play in the Triple-A contest. Nick Castellanos was chosen as one of the three starters in the outfield for the IL thanks to his .294 batting average, 11 home runs, and 44 RBIs in 89 games.
“It’s a huge honor,” Castellanos said. “I’m glad people felt I deserved to make it.
“I’m going to try and represent [the Mud Hens] as well as I can.”
Castellanos was the MVP of last year’s Futures Game — he finished third in the “Futures Finalist” fan balloting and just missed a second straight appearance in the contest. He also earned a berth in the Florida State League All-Star Game last year.
Castellanos said the thrill of making an all-star game doesn’t diminish, even after making other teams in the past.
“Every time you get selected to be an all-star, it’s huge,” he said. “It means your hard work has paid off.”
ROSTER MOVES: Before Saturday’s game the Mud Hens added a pair of players to the roster.
The Tigers optioned outfielder Avisail Garcia to Toledo, and he was in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game as the leadoff hitter and centerfielder.
Detroit also optioned pitcher Jose Alvarez to the Hens when the Tigers activated Anibal Sanchez from the disabled list. Adding Alvarez resulted in some shuffling of the Mud Hens rotation.
Pitcher Kyle Lobstein will start today, with Alvarez starting Monday in the first game of the series with Louisville. Pat Misch had his next start pushed back to Tuesday, and Ramon Garcia’s start was pushed back one day to Wednesday.
To make room for Alvarez on the roster the Mud Hens placed pitcher Shawn Hill on the disabled list with shoulder tightness.
FASHION STATEMENTS: The Mud Hens wore “hot dog” uniforms for Saturday’s game, then auctioned the jerseys off during the contest. The jersey showed a hot dog on the front and back, with the players’ numbers in mustard yellow on the back.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: A pair of former Hens are pitching for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League.
One is Pat Ahearne, who first pitched for Toledo in 1995 and 2002-04. Ahearne, now 43, is the pitching coach for the Bluefish but has returned to the mound despite not having pitched since 2007.
Ahearne’s most-recent start came against York on July 4, and in that contest he allowed just two runs in six innings to claim his first win of the season.
The other is Ruddy Lugo, who pitched for Toledo in 2009-10. He made his first appearance in relief of Ahearne and threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.