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Braun an All-Star reserve, but may start for Kemp

Braun an All-Star reserve, but may start for Kemp

Braun an All-Star reserve, but may start for Kemp
MILWAUKEE -- It was a bittersweet Selection Sunday for the Brewers. On one hand, left fielder Ryan Braun tied a franchise record by making his fifth All-Star team. On the other hand, club officials had lobbied hard for Braun to win a spot in the National League's starting outfield, only to see him fall just short in fan balloting.

Instead, Braun made the cut via the player ballot, and was announced as the Brewers' lone All-Star Game representative on the MLB All-Star Selection Show presented by Taco Bell.

Unless some teammates are added as injury replacements -- Zack Greinke was Milwaukee's most notable snub -- it would mark the first time since 2005 that the Brewers send fewer than three players to the Midsummer Classic.

The All-Star Game in Kansas City will air on FOX at 7 p.m. CT on July 10.

Braun finished fourth in fan balloting to fellow NL outfielders Melky Cabrera of the Giants, Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals and Matt Kemp of the Dodgers, coming in about 107,000 votes shy of Kemp. The top three vote-getters comprise the starting lineup.

But Kemp is on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, and is not expected to be ready in time for the All-Star Game. If he withdraws, a Major League Baseball spokesperson said Braun would replace Kemp in the starting lineup by virtue of the player ballot, and NL manager Tony La Russa would select another player for the bench.

National League roster
Starters
C Buster Posey, SF
1B Joey Votto, CIN
2B Dan Uggla, ATL
SS Rafael Furcal, STL
3B Pablo Sandoval, SF
OF Melky Cabrera, SF
OF Carlos Beltran, STL
OF Matt Kemp, LAD
Pitchers
RHP Matt Cain, SF
LHP Aroldis Chapman, CIN
RHP R.A. Dickey, NYM
LHP Gio Gonzalez, WAS
LHP Cole Hamels, PHI
RHP Joel Hanrahan, PIT
LHP Clayton Kershaw, LAD
RHP Craig Kimbrel, ATL
RHP Lance Lynn, STL
LHP Wade Miley, ARI
RHP Jonathan Papelbon, PHI
RHP Stephen Strasburg, WAS
RHP Huston Street, SD
Reserves
C Yadier Molina, STL
C Carlos Ruiz, PHI
1B Bryan LaHair, CHC
2B Jose Altuve, HOU
SS Starlin Castro, CHC
SS Ian Desmond, WAS
3B David Wright, NYM
OF Ryan Braun, MIL
OF Jay Bruce, CIN
OF Carlos Gonzalez, COL
OF Andrew McCutchen, PIT
OF Giancarlo Stanton, MIA

Braun finished third behind Beltran and Cabrera in the vote of Major League players, coaches and managers, just ahead of the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen.

And if Kemp makes a miraculous recovery and rejoins the Dodgers before the All-Star break, Braun still would have a shot at the starting lineup as a potential designated hitter. La Russa said Sunday that he was beginning to mull the lineup.

Even after a tumultuous winter that included the departure of free-agent slugger Prince Fielder, Braun has remained the same productive player.

Through the season's first 72 games, Braun was actually ahead of the pace set by his 2011 NL MVP self -- in batting average (.313 this year to .311 last year), home runs (22 to 15), RBIs (55 to 51) and slugging percentage (.611 to .562).

"He's as good as any of the players I've been around," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, who delivered the news of Braun's All-Star selection on Sunday morning. "He can do so much. I've been around great hitters. I played with Mike Schmidt and Tony Gwynn, but Ryan's a little different from those guys because of the total game that he has.

"He's a great defender, he can steal bases, he hits for high average and then can hit home runs. There's not many of those guys around."

Braun declined to address his selection after Sunday's win over the D-backs in light of an incident earlier in the day in the bullpen, where a Brewers staff member collapsed and was administered CPR. The Brewers did not release any details about the man after the game.

"I think there are constant reminders in life that there are things that are far more important than this game that we play," Braun said.

By making his fifth All-Star team, Braun tied a franchise record shared by Cecil Cooper and Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, each of whom made only one All-Star start in a Brewers uniform.

Braun's three All-Star Game starts (he sat out last year's game because of a leg injury) are already a Brewers record.

He is still seeking his first All-Star Game hit; Braun is 0-for-7 in his three previous starts.

His starring moment came in the field in 2009, when Braun made a diving fourth-inning catch to rob Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton of an extra-base hit. The play drew a big cheer from the sellout crowd at Angel Stadium, and helped the NL All-Stars preserve a 3-1 win.

The Brewers had one notable player left out of the All-Star mix in Greinke, the right-hander who has made 12 quality starts this season with a 2.82 ERA. He is tied with Detroit's Justin Verlander for the top spot in the Major Leagues with 3.6 wins above replacement.

Greinke was an All-Star in 2009, the year he won the American League Cy Young Award with the Royals. Making the cut this year would have meant another return to Kansas City.

Asked whether he was disappointed that Greinke was left out, Roenicke -- an invited member of La Russa's coaching staff -- responded quickly, "Yes, I am." He told Greinke so in the manager's office Sunday morning.

"He understands things," said Roenicke, who expressed displeasure with the selection process but conceded, "every year, somebody's upset, somewhere. The manager's got tough choices."

La Russa attributed the absence of Greinke and Reds starter Johnny Cueto to the abundance of quality arms in the NL.

"That's exactly right, those are the two guys [who were close], and there are others that you could point out," La Russa said. "There was something to consider: both Greinke and Cueto are pitching Sunday. When you're splitting some pretty fine hairs -- that worked against them."

That's true for Cueto, but La Russa was mistaken about Greinke. His final Brewers start of the first half is scheduled for Saturday against the Astros.

The 83rd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. Pregame ceremonies begin at 6:30 p.m. CT. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com, and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Game coverage.

Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the 2012 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote during the All-Star Game on MLB.com.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["all-star_game" ] }