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Modest Goldschmidt gets the start at first base

Paul Goldschmidt will start at first base for the National League.
Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

On Monday afternoon, the Diamondbacks will make Paul Goldschmidt available to the media to discuss his stature as the National League’s starting first baseman in the up-coming All-Star game.

Given Goldschmidt’s past history, the D-backs’ public relations staff really didn’t have to call this media session. Modest to a fault, Goldschmidt will thank his teammates and quietly say he appreciates the fans’ voice. That’s about all, short and sweet.

When he overtook the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez in mid-June, Goldschmidt merely said at that time that he wanted to do more for his teammates, “get quality at-bats and do what I can to help us win.” He ignored discussion about the All-Star game.

Later, he declined to participate in the Home Run Derby slated for next Monday night.

In the end, there was not much of a contest at first base, and Goldschmidt's ascension was essentially a no-brainer.

When the final votes were tabulated, Goldschmidt drew 3,516,890 to Gonzalez’s 1,888,648. The Cardinals’ Mike Adams was third with 1,746,804 votes.

If the fans valued his season thus far, his rivals were equally appreciative.

“He is very deserving,” said Colorado and NL starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki last week before a Rockies game in Washington. “We play (Arizona) often and I watch Goldschmidt and how he prepares. Very impressive. I admire his work ethic.”

Tulowitzki was the leading vote-getter among National League players and says participation in an All-Star game comes with responsibility.

“It’s a great honor to be elected by the fans,” he said. “The game is really nothing without the fans.”

Last season, Tulowitzki had Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips as his double-play partner. For 2014, it’s the Phillies’ Chase Utley but the game, he says, is the same. Plus, he’ll be throwing to Goldschmidt at first, who won his first Gold Glove last season.

“You have to make some minor adjustments,” he pointed out. “Nothing major. These guys are the best in the game and with Chase, he’s a great guy and I expect no problems.”

For his part, Goldschmidt is appearing in his second straight All-Star game and the first Diamondback make consecutive appearances since Dan Haren late in the last decade.

If Goldschmidt remains reserve, his numbers are numbing.

After 89 games and coming into Monday’s home game with the Marlins, he is hitting .310 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs, 56 RBIs, walked 50 times and scored 64 runs. He is the only player in the majors, at this point of the 2014 season, to have at least 15 homers and 30 doubles.

The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera has 14 home runs and 32 doubles.

The All-Star game is slated for a week from Tuesday at Target Field in Minneapolis. The game will be televised nationally by FOX and locally, channel 10.

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