Posey wins fan vote as NL's All-Star catcher

Giants backstop headed to third Midsummer Classic

Posey wins fan vote as NL's All-Star catcher

WASHINGTON -- Buster Posey joined a select group of Giants by being named the National League's starting catcher for the July 14 All-Star Game at Cincinnati.

Posey, who received 9,909,608 votes to 7,524,572 for St. Louis' Yadier Molina in final balloting totals announced Sunday, earned his second All-Star start and thus became the seventh Giant since 1970 to gain election on multiple occasions. Posey joined Barry Bonds (12), Will Clark (four), Matt Williams (three), Jeff Kent (two), Willie Mays (two) and Kevin Mitchell (two).

A three-time All-Star selection, Posey values the opportunity to join the best of the best.

"It's an honor to get to spend time with other players you don't normally get to spend time with," he said.

However, he also finds the events leading up to and including the game are a blur: arriving late Sunday in the host city, meeting the media Monday before rushing to the ballpark for batting practice, riding in the game-day parade and then playing the game itself.

"It's something that goes by quickly, from my experience," Posey said. "I'll try to enjoy it."

Posey's solo homer

Among the perks on Posey's All-Star checklist that he should be able to take care of in Cincinnati is encountering Reds icon Johnny Bench, widely considered one of the top two or three catchers of all time. Posey initially met the Hall of Famer when he was a 20-year-old sophomore at Florida State and was chosen as a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, given annually to the nation's top collegiate catcher. Posey won the award the following season.

"Hopefully I'll get a chance to spend a few minutes with him," Posey said.

Posey's not participating in the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, though with 14 home runs entering Sunday, he wouldn't be completely out of place among the game's biggest sluggers. Asked whether he'd ever consider taking part in the contest, Posey said, "If I was ever at the point where I was asked, I probably would. But I'd be kind of nervous because I don't really try to hit a ton of home runs in batting practice."

Posey's statistical splits demonstrate he has benefited offensively by starting occasionally at first base, where Giants manager Bruce Bochy stations him to keep his bat in the lineup while sparing him from the rigors of catching.

Entering Sunday, Posey's slash line was well above average in games he caught: .296/.361/.463. But he outdid himself at first base, where his corresponding numbers were .329/.400/.600.

Whether Posey should switch from catching to playing first is another subject for another time. For now, he remains primarily a catcher, since the Giants continue to value his skills at collaborating with pitchers and receiving what they throw.

"I fully expected Buster to be the starting catcher," said Bochy, who'll pilot the NL squad in the Midsummer Classic.

Posey acknowledged that playing first has enhanced his productivity.

"I'm sure that has helped," he said. Yet moving from spot to spot causes some stress and strain, too.

"Catching is very demanding. But then, going back and forth, at times your legs have to make adjustments to the different positions," said Posey, who lengthened his hitting streak to 11 games on Sunday. "Ultimately it's about trying to win games. Wherever Boch wants me on that night, I try to be as productive as possible."

During the Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 5 p.m. PT.

The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (4 p.m. PT air time, 5:15 first pitch), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.