All-Star Predictions: Managers face tough calls

2013-07-06T00:00:00Z All-Star Predictions: Managers face tough callsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
July 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

NEW YORK - Lost in all the commotion about Yasiel Puig are the trickiest predicaments when it comes to the All-Star game.

Look at that logjam at third base in the American League! The National League is overloaded with pitchers.

And who in the name of old Jack Murphy Stadium is going to represent the San Diego Padres?

So while the polarizing debate over whether Puig should be selected today is certainly a juicy one, when all is said and done he'll either have a backup role in the NL outfield or he won't. The most difficult decisions involve other positions. All-star rosters will be announced today.

"I'm not going to take five third basemen to the All-Star game," said Detroit's Jim Leyland, who will manage the American League team July 16 at Citi Field in New York.

Every club must have an All-Star, and rosters are limited to 34 spots - with at least 13 going to pitchers.

That's the maddening part of putting together the puzzle - and the beauty of it all, too. Sizzling baseball arguments in the heat of summer.

So without regard to fan or player balloting - or Leyland's self-imposed limit on third basemen - here are our selections for the 84th All-Star game at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets:

American League

First Base - Chris Davis is putting up incredible power numbers during a breakout season for Baltimore.

Second Base - Robinson Cano, in the final year of his contract with the Yankees, gets the nod over Red Sox rival Dustin Pedroia.

Shortstop - Detroit's Jhonny Peralta edges J.J. Hardy, a Tucson native and Sabino High School graduate now playing for the Orioles.

Third Base - Miguel Cabrera gets the start for Detroit, and four boppers make it as reserves: Evan Longoria, Josh Donaldson, Adrian Beltre and Manny Machado, who turns 21 today.

Catcher - Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins earns his fourth start, with Cleveland's Carlos Santana behind him.

Outfield - Mike Trout of the Angels starts in center field, with Toronto's Jose Bautista in right and Texas' Nelson Cruz in left. Designated Hitter - Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is still a fearsome presence in the middle of the lineup.

Starting Pitcher - Max Scherzer's 13-0 record makes him an easy choice to start.

Relievers - A save in his final All-Star game would be a nice farewell for Mariano Rivera, who plans to retire after the season.

National League

First Base - Paul Goldschmidt, a blossoming star in Arizona, gets the surprise start in a tight race with Cincinnati's Joey Votto.

Second Base - Cardinals leadoff man Matt Carpenter has emerged as the unexpected starter.

Shortstop - Milwaukee youngster Jean Segura beats out Washington's Ian Desmond.

Third Base - Hometown star and fan favorite David Wright of the Mets is the clear choice. Only fitting.

Catcher - Can't get much closer than the race between Buster Posey, the NL MVP from San Francisco, and Yadier Molina, the defensive standout from St. Louis who leads the league in hitting.

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.

Starting Pitcher - 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.

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. The bullpen also features a pair of fireballers in Braves right-hander Craig Kimbrel and Reds lefty Aroldis Chapman.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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