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Here’s what Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr. said about All-Star battle with Orioles’ Henderson

Three years into his major league career, it remains special to Bobby Witt Jr. when the Royals play at the Texas Rangers.

Witt played at Colleyville Heritage High, some 20 miles north of Arlington, where he was the Gatorade National Player of the Year for a state championship team that played a few postseason games at Globe Life Field.

Witt is there this weekend with the Royals looking to build on his credentials as one of the game’s best. After the series opening game, he leads the American League in batting average at .318, hits (99) and multi-hit games (32).

At this pace, Witt seems a lock to make his first All-Star roster, and the game is being played in this same building on June 16. In the first All-Star balloting count, Witt was second at shortstop to Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson.

“Yes and no,” Witt said, asked about being excited about the prospect of playing in baseball’s showcase game near his hometown. “I can’t really control that. ... If it happens, it happens, but definitely to do it at home would be cool.”

Witt said he and Henderson, who grew up in Selma, Alabama, are friends. They knew each other before they were both drafted in 2019, crossing paths in baseball tournaments and All-Star games.

“He’s putting up an amazing season,” Witt said.

Witt went No. 2 overall to the Royals in that draft. Henderson went No. 42 overall. They made their major league debuts in 2022 with Witt making the Opening Day roster and Henderson coming up in August.

Witt was fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting, Henderson was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2023, and has followed that success with a great start to this season.

Henderson was named AL Player of the Month for April and has 24 home runs through Friday. Witt said he saw the success coming years ago.

“He was underrated, but I don’t think people saw what I was seeing,” Witt said. “I definitely could see his power, his arm, his athleticism. We had some similarities, but he was left-handed (hitter), and he’s gotten bigger.”

Perhaps soon they’ll be teammates for a night near Witt’s hometown.