Leading Off: L.A.'s Puig deserves final N.L. All-Star spot

07/08/2013 12:00 AM

07/08/2013 6:33 AM

Sorry, Hunter Pence, but don't make any plans to be at Citi Field in New York for next week's All-Star Game unless you have a ticket.

Same goes for Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond and Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

All four can plan a mini-vacation with their families or rest with four days off next week.

They have no chance to beat out Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig in an online vote by fans to pick the final player for the National League All-Star roster.

While fans tend to be comfortable watching the usual suspects – Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder – play in every mid-summer classic, Puig is baseball's new shiny object that has grabbed everybody's attention in little more than one month.

In 32 games, he has helped take the Dodgers from last to second in the N.L. West while batting .409 with eight homers and 19 RBIs. His daring baserunning and his outfield hustle have made him a highlight-reel regular.

While we can expect the Cuban defector to be chosen for the N.L. All-Stars in a landslide, Puig's presence at Citi Field next Tuesday may not go over well with some of his teammates and coaches, who say a rookie must play more than one month before earning the honor of All-Star.

But if he hits like an All-Star, runs like an All-Star, throws like an All-Star and catches like an All-Star, Puig must be an All-Star.

What to watch

Baseball, A's at Pittsburgh, 4:05 p.m., CSNCA: Is this a World Series preview?

Today's poll

Whom should fans choose in the N.L. All-Star final vote?

Ian Desmond

Hunter Pence

Freddie Freeman

Adrian Gonzalez

Yasiel Puig

To vote, go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Weekend poll results

Who should start at point guard for the Kings?

Jimmer Fredette: 29%

Ray McCallum: 2%

Isaiah Thomas: 39%

Greivis Vasquez: 30%

Other: 0%

Total votes: 2,803

Call The Bee's Victor Contreras, (916) 326-5527. Follow him on Twitter @SacBeeVictor.


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