Donkey duo: Cozart, Votto to represent Reds in All-Star Game

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Who is Zack Cozart: Seven things to know about Reds shortstop

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Cozart to start; Votto makes team as reserve

Now that Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart knows he will start the 88th All-Star Game on July 11 in Miami, Fla., he has bigger questions to answer.

What will he name his donkey?

Where will his donkey live?

What do donkeys eat?

First baseman Joey Votto promised to buy Cozart a donkey if the fans voted Cozart into the All-Star Game. Votto got his wish. Now Cozart will get his donkey. He'll be a first-time All-Star.

The starters were announced Sunday night on ESPN. Votto also made the National League team as a reserve. It will be his fifth appearance.

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Cozart has been fielding questions about the donkey since Votto's promise. The questions continued before the Reds lost 6-2 to the Cubs on Sunday when he posed for photos with fans.

“People were giving me suggestions for names and everything," Cozart said. "I guess I might have to look for some land somewhere. So we’ll see. I think that’s going to happen.”

Votto continues to assure everyone that it will.

“The donkey’s been in the works for a while," Votto said. "We’ve got one taken care of. He was going to be an All-Star from a while ago. I’ve been on this for a minute. Now that he’s back playing and now that it’s confirmed that he made the team, I’m going to have to give him a ring. He doesn’t have a phone. He only uses a pager. He’s kind of in that black market business. He’ll see it’s time to bring that donkey to Cincinnati.”

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Ten years after the Reds drafted him in the second round, Cozart will make his first All-Star Game appearance. The 31-year-old from Collierville, Tenn., leads National League shortstops with a .322 average, .403 on-base percentage and five triples.

“I am pretty surprised that I’m starting," Cozart said. "That’s just as good as it gets, I think. Making the team is always an individual goal that you go into the season with. I don’t have a lot of individual goals, but that’s obviously way one of them that’s up there. Obviously starting is that much better because the fans vote you in and they recognize what you’ve done out there. It means a lot. I know Cincinnati was voting hard and I had to have some help outside of Cincy, and that happened.”

Cozart received 2,466,143 votes, finishing 86,117 ahead of the Dodgers' Corey Seager. Cozart will be the first Red to start the All-Star Game since Todd Frazier in 2015. The last Reds shortstop to start was Barry Larkin in 2000.

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Votto ranks fifth in the National League with a .317 average, second with a .429 on-base percentage and second with 23 home runs. This will be his first All-Star appearance since 2013.

“I made the All-Star team four consecutive times, and after a while I took them for granted," Votto said. "I expected to be there. It wasn’t until I started taking a few years off from making the team that I realized that’s something that has a good deal of meaning and something a player can be proud of. It’s an event that’s amazingly run and exciting to be a part of. Without sounding too self-involved, I missed it. I missed being a part of that. I missed representing Cincinnati, and I missed the opportunities in the past."

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