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All-Star nods in the balance for four Astros

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ANAHEIM -- With the All-Star Game roster set to be unveiled Sunday, the Astros have four candidates to make the American League squad: second baseman Jose Altuve, pitcher Dallas Keuchel and outfielders Dexter Fowler and George Springer. It's hard to imagine, though, they would have more than two players.

Altuve should be a lock to make his second All-Star team -- first in the American League -- considering he entered Saturday leading the Major Leagues with 121 hits and the AL with a .342 batting average and a career-high 37 stolen bases.

Alas, Altuve was fourth among AL second baseman in the most recent voting totals, trailing Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier could also be in the All-Star running considering the game is in Minneapolis.

"We have definitely more than one guy who deserves to be in the All-Star Game -- Keuchel, Springer and even Dexter, though he's on the DL," Altuve said. "He's got a good chance to make it. I wish the best to those guys."

Keuchel is 8-5 with a 3.06 ERA and three complete games in 16 starts this year, but hasn't helped his case lately. He's 0-2 with a 6.50 ERA in his last three starts and gave up a career-high 13 hits in five innings in Friday's loss to the Angels.

"I'll be curious to see if Altuve's starting," Keuchel said. "That's really all I want to know about. It would be nice to make it, but whatever happens, happens."

Keuchel says he usually makes travel plans to go home to Oklahoma during the All-Star break, but has postponed those at the urging of manager Bo Porter and the training staff. A trip to Minneapolis could be in the works instead.

"There's a lot of deserving candidates," he said.

Springer has set franchise rookie records for homers (17) and RBIs (46) prior to the All-Star break, while Fowler ranks 11th in the AL with a .377 on-base percentage. He's been on the disabled list since June 27 with a right intercostal strain.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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