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06/14/05 12:00 PM ET

Closer Fuentes shining like an All-Star

With Barmes out, no Rox are near the top of NL balloting

DENVER -- Rockies lefty Brian Fuentes has appeared in more games than any Colorado pitcher this season, and has done whatever the team asked.

Before closer Chin-hui Tsao injured his right shoulder, Fuentes filled the setup role in the eighth inning. But with Tsao out for the season, Fuentes has stepped into the closer's role, and is 6-for-6 in save opportunities since.

Fuentes has emerged as a possible All-Star for the Rockies, a team that has no player among the top vote-getters at any position. Rookie shortstop Clint Barmes was fifth among National League shortstops before breaking his collarbone.

After Sunday's game, Fuentes was tied for the NL lead with 35 appearances, and has posted a 2.70 ERA. In 30 innings pitched, he has given up 10 runs, nine earned. He has struck out 29 batters.

"He's come out of the bullpen and pitched very well," catcher JD Closser said. "He's done everything we've asked him to do, and been very effective out of the bullpen."

Barmes was on his way to a possible All-Star berth and possible Rookie of the Year honors. His freak accident sidelines him for at least three months, and most likely, the rest of the season.

However, Barmes may still be on his way to Detroit as the Rockies' All-Star representative. With the Midsummer Classic a month away, no player has surfaced as a leading candidate.

"[Clint] earned it," said outfielder Cory Sullivan. "A freak accident shouldn't hold him from going. He deserves it and I think people recognize that."

Preston Wilson, who homered twice on Sunday, is another option for Colorado. He is hitting .277, with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs. After missing most of last season with left knee problems, Wilson is feeling healthy and no longer wears a knee brace.

"It's a tough call," said infielder Desi Relaford. "No one's jumping out now. We just gotta play it out."

Michael Gluskin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.