Chooch making case for All-Star berth

Chooch making case for All-Star berth

PHILADELPHIA -- There were games last season when Charlie Manuel handed in a lineup card featuring a player who had appeared in an All-Star Game at every position but one. The lone exception: Catcher.

Carlos Ruiz is making a strong case to be in Kansas City for this year's Midsummer Classic on July 10.

Going into play Saturday night, Ruiz led all National League receivers in batting average (.340), home runs (six), RBIs (22) and OPS (.987). You want to talk defense? He was the only qualifying catcher in the league without an error, had been charged with just one passed ball and allowed only two wild pitches.

"I'd definitely love to go," Ruiz said. "Yeah, I would like to make the All-Star team. But my first thing is to win and help this team get back to the World Series."

Manuel said part of the obstacle is that, for some reason, his catcher hasn't gotten the attention he deserves. Yadier Molina of the Cardinals has a reputation, for example, for being a great defensive backstop and has improved his hitting in recent years. Atlanta's Brian McCann usually puts up strong offensive numbers. San Francisco's Buster Posey won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2010 and was credited for helping the Giants make it to the World Series after being called up.

"But if Chooch keeps hitting the way he is and catching the way he is, I think he stands a real good chance of making the All-Star team," the manager said. "If he keeps playing the way he has, I don't see a reason in the world why he won't. He's valuable to us as a hitter and also as a catcher. He's a big part of our team."