Ryan 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.

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.

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