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Puig a hot All-Star topic _ but not the only one
Third Base _ Hometown star and fan favorite David Wright of the Mets is the clear choice. Only fitting. Backing him up is Pittsburgh bopper Pedro Alvarez, who went to high school in New York City. Nice story.
Catcher _ Can’t get much closer than the race between Posey, the NL MVP from San Francisco, and Molina, the defensive standout from St. Louis who leads the league in hitting. Fan balloting has reflected that, too. The nod here goes to Molina, but you really can’t go wrong either way.
Outfield _ The starters are Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez in left, Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen in center and ex-Met Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals in right. Reserves include Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez, Colorado’s Michael Cuddyer, Cincinnati teammates Jay Bruce and Shin-Soo Choo, and Brown from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Starting Pitchers _ Much has been made in New York about whether Mets ace Matt Harvey should start the All-Star game on his home mound. He’s certainly worthy of the honor, but the pick here is Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Either way, that’s a pretty nasty left-right combination in the early innings. Also making the cut from a deep pool of deserving candidates are St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright, Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann, Chicago’s Jeff Samardzija, 20-year-old Miami rookie Jose Fernandez and San Diego veteran Jason Marquis, who gets rewarded with a trip back home. Besides Kershaw, the left-handers are Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee, Arizona’s Patrick Corbin and Pittsburgh’s Jeff Locke.
Relievers _ In his initial season as a closer, 36-year-old Jason Grilli of the Pirates has been practically untouchable, earning him his first All-Star selection with the game just minutes from home. Another nice story. The bullpen also features a pair of fireballers in Braves right-hander Craig Kimbrel and Reds lefty Aroldis Chapman. Somehow, there’s no room for St. Louis savior Edward Mujica, which is a shame.
AP freelance writers Ian Harrison in Toronto and Gary Schatz in Cincinnati contributed.
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