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Catcher bucking to be an All-Star

Catcher bucking to be an All-Star

KANSAS CITY --Four AL catchers are in a close race for the starting spot at the 2007 All-Star Game. The quartet doesn't include one of the Majors' best offensive catchers this season: the Royals' John Buck.

In fact, Buck doesn't even rank in the top five among American League catchers in the first release of online All-Star ballots.

Even though his offensive statistics trump nearly anyone's in baseball, Buck trails several high-profile catchers, including Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez, Minnesota's Joe Mauer, Boston's Jason Varitek, New York's Jorge Posada and Cleveland's Victor Martinez.

Buck has compiled a .562 slugging percentage and a .968 on-base slugging percentage, numbers that trail only Posada among AL backstops. His eight homers are tied with Martinez and A.J. Pierzynski for the Major League lead among catchers.

Buck isn't the only Royal position player that should be in the All-Star mix. No KC player ranks in the top five (or top 15 for outfielders) in the first online ballots, but, like Buck, Mark Teahen should receive some consideration from voters.

Teahen, a converted third baseman who is playing his first season in right field, leads all AL outfielders in assists (eight). Along with Buck, Teahen has carried the Royals' offense, hitting a team-high .292 and his .388 on-base percentage is among the AL league leaders. Teahen has also delivered in the clutch, ranking in the AL's top 10 in batting average with runners in scoring position.

Neither Buck nor Teahen has made an All-Star roster. Mark Redman made the team in 2006 and the last KC position player to make the Midsummer Classic's roster was Mike Sweeney in 2005.

Conor Nicholl is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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