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Nobody's laughing at Omar Infante

Gleeman on the All-Star we thought was so funny (but isn't anymore):

    I was among the many people who mocked Omar Infante's presence on the All-Star team and I'll stand by that mockery, because at the time he was a 28-year-old career-long utility man who wasn't even playing every day for the Braves.

    However, he's been on fire since the All-Star break ... Atlanta needs Infante more than ever in the wake of Chipper Jones' season-ending knee injury and he's responding by actually, you know, playing like an All-Star.

It's true.

That doesn't mean he wasn't a silly All-Star choice when Charlie Manuel actually, you know, made the choice. At that time, Infante wasn't one of the 200 best or most valuable players in the major leagues.

But when we look at All-Stars retrospectively, we don't usually bother to look at their first-half stats. We look at what they did in the whole season. And while Infante's playing time will seem a bit scant to historians, his percentages -- .349/.381/.458 -- will seem mighty impressive.

Particularly if Infante wins the batting title. At the moment, he doesn't have enough plate appearances to qualify. To reach 502, he needs another 169 in the Braves' 38 remaining games.

That might happen, but probably won't. Especially if the Braves lock up a playoff spot in the last week of the season, and Bobby Cox wants to rest some guys. Essentially, Infante will have to lead off in almost every game to reach 502.

There is a loophole, though. Usually it's a small loophole. But this year it's a loophole big enough for Omar Infante to drive a batting title through.

If a player doesn't finish with 502 plate appearances, you can the add necessary hitless (and imaginary) plate appearances to get him there. If his new (imaginary) batting average is still good enough to lead the league, he gets his batting title.

Well, right now Joey Votto's the official leader in the batting race, with a .323 average. If Infante keeps his average above .340, he'll have more than enough wiggle room in the event he doesn't reach 502 plate appearances.

And yeah: Nobody's going to wonder why a guy who won a batting title was an All-Star. Regardless of how improbable that batting title might have been.