#MLBPlayers411 | Zack Cozart


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Today's #MLBPlayers411, Zack Cozart, has been named to his first-career All-Star Game, and for good reason. The 31-year-old shortstop is pacing the Cincinnati Reds offense to the tune of a .313 batting average, along with nine home runs, 16 doubles, five triples and 33 RBIs.

And while the National League has its share of talent at the shortstop position, it will be Zack who will get the starting nod in Tuesday's All-Star Game in Miami.

“I am pretty surprised that I'm starting,” Zack said after hearing the news. “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 one of them that's up there.”

This season has been sort of a revelation for the Memphis, Tenn., native. Zack entered the season a .246 career hitter. This past spring training, an adjustment was made.

“I think it's my setup,” he said. “In the past if I was struggling, it was always because I was worried about my hands. Then all of the sudden, I'm not focused on the pitch. When I moved my hands down a week into spring training, it just felt comfortable.”

Speaking of spring training, teammate Joey Votto gave Zack a little extra incentive to breakthrough in 2017, with a little fun of course. Votto promised Zack a donkey if he made the National League All-Star team. Four months later, it's time for Votto to “pony” up.

“Oh yeah, anybody that knows Joey Votto knows that donkey is going to be here,” Zack said. “This is happening -- a legit, real donkey. No name picked out, but that will be the next order of business, that's for sure.”

Zack has been a part of the Reds organization since 2007, when he was drafted after three seasons at the University of Mississippi. He was a career .310 hitter for the Rebels. The 2007 Draft was a good one for the Reds, as they also landed Todd Frazier and current starting catcher Devin Mesoraco.

After three-plus seasons in the Reds farm system, Zack made his major-league debut on July 7, 2011. 

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