Thursday, July 11, 2013

Puig finishes second

If Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was dejected after missing out on the last All-Star spot Thursday, he sure didn't show it. Especially when Manager Don Mattingly told him he was starting in center field, spurring a happy-go-lucky dance in the clubhouse to blaring reggaeton music.

"Did you see him in there? He would have loved to be at the All-Star game and show off," Mattingly said. "But it's not going to take away from his joy for the game."

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman set a MLB Final Vote record with 19.7 million votes to edge out the Cuban phenom. Toronto Blue Jays reliever Steve Delabar won the AL Final Vote with 9.6 million votes.

Puig's exact vote count was not released, but the 22-year-old passed the previous mark of 15.6 million votes set by Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino in 2009.

"It's not what I had hoped for the fans and the city, but I'm very happy," Puig said. "I don't have my head down at all. Hopefully good things will come out of this."

Heading into the game against the Colorado Rockies, Puig was hitting .394 with eight home runs and 19 runs batted in in 35 games. He has galvanized the Dodgers' latest turnaround, in which they have gone from last place in the National League West when he debuted June 3 to second place, 11/2 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The result Thursday does not entirely rule out Puig's All-Star chances. Four of the five NL Final Vote candidates last year made the All-Star roster as injury replacements and last-minute substitutes.

*** [7/14/13]

Freeman injured, so Puig gets to play after all.  Right?  Nope, wrong.  Brian McCann gets the call.  It's the old guard conspiracy.  Or maybe it was just Bruce Bochy.

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