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Yasiel Puig to vie for NL spot

Yasiel Puig's inclusion in the All-Star Game is now up to the fans.

The electrifying Los Angeles Dodgers rookie is one of five National League players eligible in this year's Final Vote, where fans will select the final member of the NL All-Star team in balloting that runs through Thursday.

Puig's inclusion in the game, July 16 at Citi Field in New York, has been a hot topic in baseball.

The 22-year-old Cuban has taken the sport by storm, batting .407 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs. The Dodgers were 23-32 and in last place in the NL West before he was called up from the minor leagues. They're 18-13 since and entered Saturday tied for second.

But those who argue against Puig's inclusion point to his short service time in the majors. He wasn't called up until early June, and has played in just 31 games.

"To me, it's an absolute joke," Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon told MLB Network Radio when asked about Puig's All-Star candidacy. "It's really kind of stupid, if you ask me."

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will manage the NL All-Star team, agreed.

"If he's not an All-Star this year, he's going to be an All-Star for years to come," Bochy said of Puig. "But I do think you have to play enough to earn a spot on the All-Star team."

Major League Baseball tweeted Saturday night that Puig received 842,915 write-in votes to the Midsummer Classic, the most since former Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Freddy Sanchez totaled 856,685 in 2006.

That popularity could carry him into the All-Star Game via the Final Vote. His competition will be Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Giants outfielder Hunter Pence.

Right-handed relievers Steve Delabar of the Toronto Blue Jays, David Robertson of the New York Yankees, Koji Uehara of the Boston Red Sox, Tanner Scheppers of the Texas Rangers and Joaquin Benoit of the Detroit Tigers will vie for the final spot in the AL Final Vote balloting.

Voting on MLB.com ends at 4 p.m. ET Thursday.