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Four Atlanta Braves Make All-Star Team

July 4th, 2011 at 4:38 PM
By Cody Fields

In the twilight of a career that is sure to be destined for Cooperstown, Chipper Jones has been selected to his seventh All-Star team.

The 39-year-old third baseman was voted in by the players for the 82nd All-Star Game.

"That means more than anything to have the respect of your peers and whatnot," Jones said. "It's awfully flattering. I'll do my best to keep up my end of the bargain."

Though Jones is hitting an uncharacteristic .256 this year, he has fought through a torn meniscus for seven homers and 44 RBI, the most among National League third baseman. He is also hitting an otherworldly .409 with runners in scoring position.

The veteran's last All-Star appearance was in 2008, and his first was in 1996, when he played alongside Craig Biggio and Barry Larkin.

Jones' company this time, however, is notably younger.

Brian McCann was elected by the fans to his sixth All-Star Game in as many full seasons and will start in the game for the first time in his career. He is the first Brave to serve as the NL's starting catcher since Javy Lopez in 2003.

"It's especially a proud moment for me, because he's the guy I feel I've taken under my wings since day one," Jones said. "Just to see his development and see him turn into a leader and perennial All-Star and become a guy who will be a legitimate MVP candidate if he continues this through the second half, I'm like a proud papa."

McCann currently leads all NL catchers in homers (14), RBIs (47), batting average (.314), on-base percentage (.388) and slugging percentage (.520).

After an injury-plagued 2010, Jair Jurrjens has returned with authority. The Braves' right-hander is tied for the Major League lead with 11 wins and leads them with a 1.89 ERA. He is a candidate to serve as the NL's starting pitcher, though the honor will more likely go to a more established party in Roy Hallady or Cliff Lee.

Reliever Jonny Venters was also voted in by the players after posting a 1.59 in 46 appearances. The southpaw has struck out 54 batters in 51 innings.

"I was shocked," Venters said. "I'm excited about it. I can't wait for it. It's a huge honor to get a chance to go over there and represent the Atlanta Braves and the National League."

Tommy Hanson (9-4, 2.62 ERA) and Craig Kimbrel are potential candidates to fill in a roster spot. Kimbrel's 24 saves are just two short of the rookie record before the All-Star break, and he has 10 more strikeouts than any other reliever.

Atlanta's four All-Star selections are tied with the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies for the most in the NL.

The All-Star Game will be played in Phoenix on July 12 at 8:00 EDT.

Tags: All-Star Game, Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Brian McCann, Chipper Jones, Jair Jurrjens, Jonny Venters, MLB

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