July 4, 2004
(Atlanta-AP) -- For the first time since 1991, the Atlanta Braves will have only one player in the July 13th All-Star game in Houston. Catcher Johnny Estrada, in his first year starting with the Braves, was selected by players, coaches and managers after Mike Piazza of the New York Mets was voted the starting catcher by fans.
Estrada is hitting .328 with four homers and 45 R-B-I. His batting average is the best among Braves players with at least 100 at-bats. Outfielder J-D Drew leads the team with 52 R-B-I, and Estrada is second.
Pitcher Mike Hampton said of Estrada, "He's definitely our most deserving player. Not only has he hit for average, but unlike a lot of catchers, he plays day games after night games. He's been in the lineup all the time, when we've needed a big hit, he's been the one to produce and he's been very consistent. He's very deserving."
The Braves had seven All-Star selections last year. The last year only one Braves player was picked was 1991, when pitcher Tom Glavine was the team's only representative. Estrada leads the major leagues with his .484 batting average with runners in scoring position.
Estrada said, "To be mentioned as one of the best catchers in baseball after really not my first full season in the big leagues, I mean, it hasn't hit me yet. I'm sure it will sink in later."
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