Uggla to start, Kimbrel to be in 'pen for NL All-Stars
Second baseman voted in by fans; closer gets second All-Star nod
ATLANTA -- Braves second baseman Dan Uggla will be making his first start, and his Atlanta teammate Craig Kimbrel will be positioned to potentially close at this year's All-Star Game in Kansas City on July 10.
Uggla and Kimbrel had reason to celebrate Sunday when they learned they had been selected to be part of the National League team in this year's Midsummer Classic. They were the only Braves to earn this honor via the selection processes conducted by fans, players, Major League Baseball and NL manager Tony La Russa.
"You're talking about going out and competing about the best players in the world for one night," Uggla said. "It's a huge honor to be put in that category and be thought of that way. I'm excited. I can't wait. It's going to be a lot of fun."
National League roster
|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|
|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|
|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|
Kimbrel has now earned a selection in each of his first two full big league seasons. The dominant closer was added to the NL roster just two days before making his All-Star Game debut last year.
"Having this opportunity again is awesome," Kimbrel said. "Last year I really didn't know what to expect. This year, I have a little better idea. So maybe I can soak it all in a little bit more."
Chipper Jones was added to the NL roster to replace injured Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp on Tuesday, and Michael Bourn replaced injured Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond on Saturday.
One year after being elected a starter for the first time, Brian McCann did not earn a selection. McCann had been named an All-Star during each of his six full Major League seasons. He stands as the only player in Braves history to hold that distinction.
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 7:30 p.m. (EDT)/6:30 p.m. (CDT). 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.
Uggla will be making his third All-Star Game appearance and first since he committed three errors in the 2008 contest. Though he struggled at the plate through most of June, he still managed to garner more votes from fans than any other NL second baseman.
"I had some pretty big years, I thought, in years past," Uggla said. "I hit a lot of homers with a lot of RBIs and a batting average of something like .250 or .260. But I always seemed to kind of fall short. I got off to a pretty good start this year, and the fans thought I was deserving of it. I'm greatly honored."
Uggla has batted .232 with 11 home runs and a .772 OPS. The 32-year-old second baseman batted .283 with an .805 OPS in his first 38 games of the season. But he has batted .175 with six home runs and a .733 OPS in his past 39 games.
After hitting .173 in the first 86 games he played last year, Uggla began an Atlanta-record 33-game hitting streak, and later extended his Major League record for second basemen with a fifth consecutive 30-homer season.
Recognized as one of the game's strongest players, Uggla is hoping to receive an invitation to compete in the State Farm Home Run Derby.
Kimbrel has quickly become one of the game's elite closers. The hard-throwing right-hander set a rookie record with 46 saves last year and is slightly ahead of that pace this year. The 24-year-old closer has limited opponents to a .126 batting average and .204 on-base percentage while converting 23 of his 24 save opportunities this year.
While showing more consistent command this year, Kimbrel has notched 50 strikeouts and issued 10 walks in 30 innings.
Since allowing a run in three consecutive appearances from April 29-May 4, he has allowed one run and four hits over 19 innings. He has limited opponents to a .065 batting average and .094 on-base percentage during that stretch.
"Anytime you're selected to an All-Star team, it's an honor," Kimbrel said. "Hopefully I can go out and do my part to help the team win."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.