Brantley closes in on All-Star spot, Francona pushes for Yan Gomes

Published:

Record-Courier staff report

Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley seems to be closing in on his first-ever All-Star Game appearance.

Whether or not he is a starter or named to the team as a reserve is what is still to be decided.

Brantley's .318 average with 12 home runs and 53 RBI, along with a perfect 9-for-9 on stolen-base attempts and Gold Glove caliber defense are more than enough to garner a spot for him.

However, he is now sixth overall in outfield voting. The top three vote-getters are elected as the game's starters.

Toronto's Jose Bautista is the Major League leader in votes -- for all positions -- with 4,460,245. If the voting was to end today, the other two outfield starters would be the L.A. Angels' Mike Trout (4,085,647) and Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes (1,941,553).

Brantley currently has 1,630,452 votes -- just over 311,000 votes off of the third starting spot.

No other Cleveland Indians player is in contention for a starting role.

Indians manager Terry Francona is making a push for another Cleveland player to represent the team at the All-Star Game.

Francona said on Sunday that he felt catcher Yan Gomes was more than deserving of a spot on the team.

"I definitely think he's very worthy," Francona said on Sunday. "I think a couple things are probably going against him. One, he hasn't been a catcher forever. And, he had a little bit of a slow start defensively. But I think Gomer, when you look at the catching in the league, always deserves to be in that discussion."

Gomes is batting .267 on the season with nine home runs and 28 RBI. Among catchers with at least 200 at-bats, he is second in homers, third in slugging (.421) and OPS and fourth in batting average. He is second in the league at throwing out would-be base stealers (18-of-35 for 34 percent).

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