MINNEAPOLIS -- Kurt Suzuki has shined in his first season with the Twins, and manager Ron Gardenhire believes his catcher is worthy of being a first-time All-Star.
Suzuki, 30, has earned rave reviews from the pitching staff for his work behind the plate, but he is also having a breakout year offensively. He ranks second among all catchers with a .299 average while ranking first among American League catchers with a .354 on-base percentage. He ranks second among AL catchers in doubles, with 17, and fourth in RBIs, with 34.
Thus Gardenhire believes that Suzuki deserves to represent the Twins in the All-Star Game, which will be held at Target Field on July 15. In the final ballot update, released on Monday, Suzuki ranked fourth among AL catchers.
"Absolutely," Gardenhire said. "He's hitting .300 as a catcher, and with everything with this pitching staff he's done, he's been pretty doggone good. So, absolutely."
Gardenhire remains hopeful the Twins will have more than one representative in the Midsummer Classic -- other candidates are second baseman Brian Dozier, right-hander Phil Hughes and closer Glen Perkins -- but he's not sure if being the host will work to their benefit or not.
"It's hard to say," said Gardenhire, who will serve on the AL coaching staff under Red Sox manager John Farrell. "There's so many guys deserving. I don't know if it will or not. I don't know if it's something that would be on their mind, but I hope it would be, [to have] a couple of Minnesota guys on there. But you don't want to stick it to another player because of that if they're well deserving."
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday at 10:59 p.m. CT.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.