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Braves' Estrada making All-Star push

Braves' Estrada making All-Star push

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Johnny Estrada's bat is starting to get hot, helping him climb even closer to the top of many statistical categories among National League catchers. Only time will tell if All-Star voters will take notice and reward him with his second consecutive All-Star Game appearance.

Estrada, who was selected by other NL players and coaches to participate in last year's Midsummer Classic, seemed to find his groove as May came to a close. As of Sunday, his batting average ranked third among NL catchers, behind the Padres' Ramon Hernandez and the Marlins' Paul Lo Duca.

As of Tuesday, when the latest balloting results were released, Estrada, with 215,774 votes, ranked third behind Lo Duca and the Mets' Mike Piazza, who once again is leading the voting.

Chipper Jones appears to be the most likely Braves player to get elected to the All-Star Game this year. Among balloting for NL third baseman, his 383,083 votes trail only the Cardinals' Scott Rolen, who has been out since May 12 with a shoulder injury that is expected to keep him sidelined until early July.

Marcus Giles, who was voted to be the NL's starting second baseman in the 2003 All-Star Game, hasn't received the same support he has in the past. He has received 237,635 votes and ranks fourth in the balloting behind the Dodgers' Jeff Kent, the Astros' Craig Biggio and the Cardinals' Mark Grudzielanek.

Giles' double-play partner, Rafael Furcal, has 269,606 votes and ranks third behind the Cubs' Mark Grudzielanek and the Cardinals' David Eckstein in balloting among NL shortstops.

Andruw Jones, who is bidding to participate in his fourth All-Star Game, ranks seventh among NL outfielders with 280,204 votes. Leading that group are the Mets' Carlos Beltran, the Cardinals' Jim Edmonds and the Phillies' Bobby Abreu.

Mark Bowman 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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