Bobby Cox on Omar Infante: "Greatest pick in the history of All-Star selections"
There was a modest national uproar when Omar Infante of the Atlanta Braves was selected to the National League All-Star team. Infante was a utility player, and a good one, and NL Manager Charlie Manuel said he was told he needed to select a utility player.
In a season in which the Braves have lost second baseman Martin Prado and third baseman Chipper Jones to injury, Infante has been a life saver. In 506 at-bats--more than double his total last year--he batted a team-high .321. He finished third in the NL batting race, behind Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies and Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.
Infante, 28, played second base, shortstop, third base, left field and right field. He'll start at third base in Game 1 of the NL division series Thursday against the San Francisco Giants, and Manager Bobby Cox took a moment Wednesday to salute him.
"Omar can play second, center, left, right, shortstop and third base," Cox said, "and play 'em in All-Star fashion.
"Charlie Manuel made the greatest pick in the history of the All-Star selections when he named him to the All-Star team."
Cox also lauded Giants rookie catcher Buster Posey, who grew up in Braves territory.
"I don't know how we missed him," Cox said.
That one is easy. Posey was the fifth pick of the 2008 draft, behind Tim Beckham (Tampa Bay Rays), Pedro Alvarez (Pittsburgh Pirates), Eric Hosmer (Kansas City Royals) and Brian Matusz (Baltimore Orioles). The Braves forfeited their first-round pick that year as compensation for signing Tom Glavine, who won two games that year.
-- Bill Shaikin in San Francisco