Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) follows through on a double in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore
July 03, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) Anyone still ranting about the online election that put five Kansas City Royals in position to start the All-Star Game, the following is for you.

Our picks for the July 14 showcase in Cincinnati - without any regard to fan or player balloting.

We'll abide by MLB roster rules: 34 spots in each league, at least 13 going to pitchers. And all 30 clubs must be represented.

It makes for a tricky puzzle and triggers plenty of criticism every summer when the selections are announced.

''At times you go, `come on,' because you do hear about the snubs more than the guys who make it. But you're trying to do what's right,'' said San Francisco Giants skipper Bruce Bochy, preparing to manage the National League for the fourth time.

One fun theme this year: older players turning back the clock. From Albert Pujols and A.J. Burnett to Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, several stalwarts on the elder side of 35 are bidding for their first All-Star berth in years.

The deadline for fans to vote online was midnight Thursday, and the starters they chose will be disclosed Sunday. Pitchers and reserves get revealed the next night.

Here we go:

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AMERICAN LEAGUE

FIRST BASE - Detroit bopper Miguel Cabrera is backed up by a pair of 35-year-olds in Pujols (Angels) and Teixeira (Yankees).

SECOND BASE - Cleveland's Jason Kipnis is quietly having a huge season. Behind him are Minnesota's Brian Dozier and Houston batting champ Jose Altuve.

SHORTSTOP - Flashy fielder Jose Iglesias was hitting over .320 for the Tigers. Xander Bogaerts represents the last-place Red Sox.

THIRD BASE - Josh Donaldson earns his second consecutive start, this time for Toronto after a trade from Oakland. On the bench are the M&M boys: Baltimore's Manny Machado and Kansas City's Mike Moustakas.

CATCHER - Stephen Vogt has been a big surprise in Oakland. He gets the start over Blue Jays newcomer Russell Martin.

OUTFIELD - Reigning MVP Mike Trout starts in center, with Toronto's Jose Bautista in right and Seattle's Nelson Cruz in left. Cruz was running first in fan balloting at DH, but has played most of his games in the outfield. The reserves are Kansas City's Lorenzo Cain, New York's Brett Gardner and Detroit's J.D. Martinez.

DESIGNATED HITTER - A healthy Prince Fielder is having quite a comeback season in Texas. He was listed at first base on the fan ballot, but has spent the vast majority of his time at DH, where he appeared on the players' ballot. That discrepancy is significant because it could end up squeezing the 39-year-old Rodriguez out of a roster spot. A-Rod receives one here as a Yankees bat off the bench after sitting out last season while serving his drug suspension.

STARTING PITCHERS - Houston lefty Dallas Keuchel takes starting honors and is joined by southpaws Chris Sale (Chicago) and David Price (Detroit). The right-handers are Oakland's Sonny Gray, Tampa Bay's Chris Archer, Seattle's Felix Hernandez and Texas' Yovani Gallardo.

RELIEVERS - An eclectic mix of closers and setup men includes left-handers Glen Perkins (Minnesota) and Zach Britton (Baltimore), and righties Wade Davis (Kansas City), Dellin Betances (New York), Will Harris (Houston) and Darren O'Day (Baltimore).

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NATIONAL LEAGUE

FIRST BASE - Paul Goldschmidt. More like, Paul Bunyan in an Arizona Diamondbacks uniform. Also making the cut at a power-packed position: Chicago's Anthony Rizzo, Los Angeles slugger Adrian Gonzalez and Cincinnati's Joey Votto, a sensible starter at DH in his own ballpark.

SECOND BASE - Leading off, Miami speedster Dee Gordon. San Francisco sophomore Joe Panik is second string, but St. Louis youngster Kolten Wong was difficult to deny.

SHORTSTOP - The surprise starter is underrated Brandon Crawford from the Giants, a winning player enjoying a breakout season with the bat. Behind him is Jhonny Peralta of the major league-leading Cardinals.

THIRD BASE - With the game on his home field, Todd Frazier from the Reds gets a slight nod over Nolan Arenado and his dazzling Gold Glove defense for the Rockies. Close call between two players having monster seasons. Cubs rookie Kris Bryant gets his first taste, too.

CATCHER - Buster Posey is an easy choice in San Francisco. The unexpected backup is San Diego newcomer Derek Norris over St. Louis sage Yadier Molina.

OUTFIELD - Washington phenom Bryce Harper is the first-half MVP. He starts in right, with Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen in center and San Diego's Justin Upton in left. The bench includes Arizona center fielder A.J. Pollock, Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson and Milwaukee bopper Ryan Braun, who replaces injured Miami star Giancarlo Stanton.

STARTING PITCHERS - The league is so loaded on the mound we took 15 pitchers - and still had to leave out big names with worthy numbers. Max Scherzer gets the ball in his first season with Washington, two years after starting for the AL with Detroit. He barely nips Zack Greinke (Los Angeles), while the other right-handers are Gerrit Cole (Pittsburgh), Michael Wacha (St. Louis), Shelby Miller (Atlanta), Jacob deGrom (New York) and Burnett (Pittsburgh), who makes his first All-Star team at age 38. The lefties are Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles), Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco) and Cole Hamels (Philadelphia).

RELIEVERS - An imposing crop of closers features St. Louis' Trevor Rosenthal, Milwaukee's Francisco Rodriguez, New York's Jeurys Familia and Pittsburgh's Mark Melancon from the right side. Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman fires from the left.

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AP Sports Writer Steven Wine in Miami contributed to this report.

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