ST. PETERSBURG -- As Astros third baseman Alex Bregman puts the finishing touches on his spectacular month at the plate, he has thrust himself into consideration to make his first All-Star team. After his two-run homer in Saturday's 5-2 loss against the Rays, Bregman was tied with teammate Evan Gattis for first in the Majors in RBIs in June, with 30 -- an Astros record for the month -- and tied for first in the AL in hits in the month.
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Cleveland's Jose Ramirez is leading the fan voting in the AL at third base with 1,319,651 votes, well ahead of the Yankees' Miguel Andujar (764,032) and Bregman (718,814) and is the likely starter for the 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on July 17 at Nationals Park. Among AL third basemen, Bregman leads at the position in hits (86), doubles (27), RBIs (52) and is second with 16 homers. Ramirez has 23 as a third baseman.
"It's one of the things you set [as one of] your personal goals during the offseason, but to be honest with you, I've been trying to focus on helping this team win games," Bregman said.
Astros manager AJ Hinch, who will manage the AL All-Star squad next month, believes his third baseman is worthy of inclusion.
"Obviously, he's had a great month of success and done huge damage, and I'm proud of the work he's put in to get to that point," Hinch said. "It would be nice to have him rewarded with that. There's a lot of good players around the league, but he's standing out as a guy who should get that recognition, if it's available. We haven't gotten into the final conversations about stuff like that, but I'm on Team Bregman."
When asked what other Astros players could join him in the Midsummer Classic, Hinch replied that he'd like to take everybody, but said the list starts with Jose Altuve, who's the leading vote-getter at second base. Outfielder George Springer's recent slump might hurt his chances. Hinch also stumped for relievers Hector Rondon, Collin McHugh and Chris Devenski, who was an All-Star last year.
And of course, the rotation has four All-Star candidates in Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers
"We're all favorable toward our own teams, but you ask any manager and the tiebreaker is always going to go to their own player," Hinch said. "Carlos Correa, obviously has had a season that warrants considering as well, especially when you look at parts of his season defensively and some of the damage he's done. There won't be all those guys I mentioned. There's not enough room on the roster for stuff like that, but we'll be plenty represented."
Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday, July 5, at 10:59 p.m. CT. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.
Odds and ends
• Relief pitcher Joe Smith, who's on the disabled list with right elbow soreness, threw 19 pitches in one inning in his relief outing Friday night at Double-A Corpus Christi. Hinch said he will pitch again Sunday before likely rejoining the club Tuesday in Arlington.
• First baseman Yuli Gurriel is expected to be in the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Rays after missing three games on the paternity list for the birth of his son. AJ Reed, who was called up when Gurriel left the team, will likely be sent back to Triple-A Fresno.