The division-leading Round Rock Express placed four players on the Pacific Coast League all-star team announced Tuesday, including outfielder Joey Butler, who will start the July 17 game.
Versatile infielder Yangervis Solarte, starting pitcher Brad Mills and closer Cory Burns also were selected, giving the Express the most all-stars they’ve had as a Triple-A franchise. The previous high was three in 2006.
Butler, the team’s lone all-star last year, is hitting .328 with a team-leading .405 on-base percentage. He also has eight homers and 35 RBIs. The 27-year-old from Pascagoula, Miss., was a Texas League all-star in 2010. He was the Texas Rangers’ minor league player of the month in April.
Sacramento’s Michael Choice, a blue-chip Oakland prospect who has 11 homers and 53 RBIs, and Albuquerque’s Nick “Chili” Buss, with 13 RBIs in his past 10 games, will join Butler in the starting outfield.
Burns, 25, is having a dominant season in the bullpen, with 15 saves in 16 opportunities, a 1.14 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings.
“I love the closing role,” Burns, who’s about to return from a finger injury, said recently. “I’ve always been a reliever. It suits my style. I can come in for one inning and let it all out.”
Solarte, 25, has been the most valuable member of the Express. He has played second base, shortstop and third base while being a consistent offensive threat.
A Venezuelan, Solarte is batting a .307 and leads the team in home runs (10), RBIs (54) and runs scored (46). Solarte ranks fifth in the PCL in doubles with 22.
Mills, 28, is a Triple-A all-star for the second time after making it in 2011 with Las Vegas. He is 7-2 with a 3.78 ERA and one of the PCL’s leaders with 1.19 baserunners allowed per inning.
Sacramento’s Sonny Gray (7-5, 3.02), who tops the league with 98 strikeouts, will start for the PCL.
TRIPLE-A ALL-STAR GAME
Format: Pacific Coast League vs. International League
When: 8 p.m., July 17
Where: Aces Ballpark, Reno, Nev. (capacity: 9,100)
TV: MLB Network