Infante gains surprise selection
When we awoke this morning, I think it’s safe to say most of us expected Jason Heyward, Martin Prado and Tim Hudson to be named to this year’s All-Star team. There was also little shock when the players provided Brian McCann his fifth consecutive All-Star selection.
But the biggest surprise and thrill of the day came when it was learned Omar Infante was granted his first All-Star selection. It’s obvious that the Braves aren’t the only ones who have recognized the value he brings with his dependable versatility as a utility player.
“I’m so happy for him,” Hudson said. “I was just thrilled when I learned that he made it. That’s just great.”
The fact that Infante has hit .353 against the Phillies this year likely aided his cause when Phillies manager Charlie Manuel began looking at options to strengthen his bench.
The .345 batting average Infante has compiled with runners in scoring position since the start of the 2008 season ranks fifth among all Major Leaguers who have compiled at least 200 plate appearances in this situation.
“We feel like we got a good player there, who is a contact hitter, who can handle the bat,” Manuel said during TBS’s Selection Show.
Making his third All-Star selection and first since 2004, Hudson said he is looking forward to taking his son Kade down on the field to be surrounded by the game’s other greats during the Home Run Derby on July 12.
Prado will start at second base in place of the injured Chase Utley. Heyward has said that his injured left thumb will likely keep him from playing.
The five All-Star selections are the most the Braves have totaled since sending seven players to the 2003 Midsummer Classic.
UPDATED: Billy Wagner is part of the Final Vote Ballot. You can help the veteran closer make his final All-Star appearance by casting your votes through Thursday at 4 p.m. ET.