WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – As the mid-summer classic fast approaches, discussions regarding who should make the final All-Star rosters are heating up, growing particularly intense surrounding Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig, who’s torn up the league since being recalled on June 3, but has only been in the bigs for a month.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson, who will take a seat on the NL bench during the 2013 MLB All-Star Game, after being selected as a coach by manager Bruce Bochy, provided some clarity on the Cuban defector candidacy, and gave Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg his blessing to play, should they make the squad fresh off the DL.
First, his thoughts on Harper, who jacked a homer in his first at-bat back in Washington’s lineup, after missing 31 games with bursitis in his knee.
“Harp’s had about a month off, so he could probably use the at-bat,” Jonson told the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday.
The Nats have shown a tendency to rest their guys when opportunities to do so present themselves, especially when it involves former Tommy John surgery recipient Strasburg. But Johnson gave him the green light to play if he’s voted in.
“In my opinion he should,” Johnson said. “He’s definitely one of the top ten pitchers in the league.”
Now to Puig, who’s been nothing short of electric for Los Angeles, with a hitting line of .443/.473/.745. To further demonstrate his excellence, Puig’s registered 8 home runs, 2 doubles, a triple for 17 RBI, and has only walked in 4 plate appearances – all of which amounts to an astonishing 1.218 OPS.
And this is all in just 27 games, but therein lies the controversy in potentially selecting him for his first All-Star appearance.
On Tuesday, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon told Sirius XM Sports it’s an “absolute joke” Puig’s even being considered for the roster.
While not nearly as boisterous about it, Davey took a similar stance, saying he’d rather give “the nod” to Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies, who’s played in 63 games and just had a 27-game hit streak snapped.
“Cuddyer’s been there all year,” Johnson told the Junkies.
“I like everything I see about him,” he said about Puig, adding he’s like the Bryce Harper of the West Coast. But that’s where he drew the line.
“I really like him, but to me, he hasn’t had enough games,” Johnson said. “It’s a big honor for guys.”
Harper faced a similar situation during his rookie campaign, but had more than a full month’s more experience in the Major Leagues than Puig currently has.
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