When the rosters for Major League Baseball's All-Star game were announced Saturday afternoon, the National League team included Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw for the third consecutive season and the American League team included outfielder Mike Trout for a second consecutive time.
Puig has played only 31 major league games, but he fueled the Dodgers' surge from the NL West cellar and became the first player to be selected as his league's player of the month in his first month in the majors since the award was instituted in 1958. He has a .407 batting average and eight home runs, and picked up an on-camera jolt of support from Fox analyst Harold Reynolds, who closed the network's televised selection show by saying Puig had his vote and then chanted his name.
In the regular fan voting, Puig received 842,915 write-in votes, the most since Pittsburgh shortstop Freddy Sanchez got 856,685 in 2006.
To make the roster, Puig will have to win the vote over one of his mentors, Gonzalez, who started Saturday batting .300 and led the Dodgers in runs, hits, doubles, home runs and runs batted in. Washington shortstop Ian Desmond, Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman and San Francisco outfielder Hunter Pence are also on the NL final-player ballot.
Voting for the final roster spots in each league will take place in the next five days. Fans can vote at MLB.com, club Internet sites and by mobile phone.
As for the Angels, they can watch Trout and several exes: Among the NL All-Stars are two former Angels prospects who left in trades for veteran pitching. Arizona left-hander Patrick Corbin was sent away in a deal for Dan Haren; Milwaukee shortstop Jean Segura left in a package that netted Zack Greinke for a few months.
Corbin has a record of 9-1 and an earned-run average of 2.49. Segura started Saturday with a .321 batting average.
Detroit outfielder Torii Hunter, whom the Angels decided to dump in favor of free agent Josh Hamilton, is also an All-Star, as is Matt Harvey, whom the Angels drafted in 2007 but failed to sign. Harvey, a New York Mets right-hander, will probably be the NL's starting pitcher. He has a record of 7-2 with a 2.27 ERA for credentials, and the All-Star game will be played July 16 at Citi Field, home of the Mets.
Harvey led all NL pitchers in the player voting. Kershaw, who has a 7-5 record and a major league-leading 1.93 ERA, was second.
Trout, who began Saturday batting .314 with 20 stolen bases and 13 home runs among 42 extra-base hits, received the second-most fan votes among American League outfielders behind Baltimore's Adam Jones. Trout led the players' voting.
Last season, Trout was chosen to the team as a reserve. "Definitely means a lot more to start the game, to be mentally prepared that you're going to be starting the game," Trout said Saturday before the Angels played the Boston Red Sox. "Last year I got to come in off the bench, and just the experience I had last year was unbelievable."
Trout, 21, and Washington outfielder Bryce Harper, 20, are the first position players younger than 22 to start the same All-Star game since Al Kaline and Frank Robinson in 1956. Meanwhile, New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, 43, is an All-Star for the 13th time, second among pitchers behind Hall of Famer Warren Spahn, a 17-time selection.
AL Central leader Detroit led all teams with six All-Stars, including right-hander Max Scherzer, who is the first MLB pitcher to start a season with a record of 13-0 since Roger Clemens in 1986. St. Louis paced the NL with five selections, including starters Yadier Molina at catcher and Carlos Beltran in the outfield.