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Belliard a top All-Star prospect

Belliard a top All-Star prospect

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CLEVELAND -- He was a member of the American League All-Star team last summer, so it wouldn't be a stretch to see second baseman Ronnie Belliard make the team again.

While Belliard hasn't been the sizzling-hot hitter that he was during the first half of 2004, he's still been plenty good with the wood for the Indians this season.

He's now leading the ballclub in batting (.295) and in homers (seven), an oddity on a team with bigger men like Victor Martinez, Ben Broussard and Travis Hafner. Belliard's RBI total of 21 ties him for second most on the team.

Nobody expects that kind of power production from the scrappy infielder, but they do expect him to play defense like the top infielders at his position. In that regard, he hasn't disappointed.

The 30-year-old Belliard has been the same fluid fielder who surprised Indians fans with this glove work last season. His play has been one of the few bright spots among the everyday players in the Indians lineup, and his play merits the fans' consideration when it comes for selection in the starting lineup for the All Star Game in Comerica Park on July 12.

"Ronnie's had a lot of big hits for us," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's playing with a lot of energy. He's doing a much better job of sticking with his game plan at the plate."

Belliard's improved approach at the plate has led to his increasing production -- and to a better batting average as well.

In balloting sponsored by Ameriquest Mortgage Co., Tribe fans can vote for Belliard and the other seven Indians on the ballot online at MLB.com and also at Jacobs Field and Indians Team Shops across Northeast Ohio.

At the Jake and the team shops, All-Star balloting runs through June 28. After that, fans can continue to vote online until June 30.

Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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