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07/13/09 1:12 PM ET

Manuel builds NL lineup around Pujols

All-Star skipper places slugger third amid visions of victory

ST. LOUIS -- National League skipper Charlie Manuel had countless ways he could have set up the NL lineup for the All-Star Game.

But he knew one thing he needed to do.

Manuel needed to hit Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols third. Manuel said he wants Pujols to hit as often as possible before the skipper needs to dip into his reserves of three first basemen -- which include Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder.

"I wanted him to hit in the first inning," Manuel said.

Manuel's lineup looks like this for Tuesday's game at Busch Stadium: 1) Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez; 2) Phillies second baseman Chase Utley; 3) Pujols; 4) Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun; 5) Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez; 6) Mets third baseman David Wright; 7) Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino; 8) Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina; 9) Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum.

Ichiro Suzuki, rf
Derek Jeter, ss
Joe Mauer, c
Mark Teixeira, 1b
Jason Bay, lf
Josh Hamilton, cf
Evan Longoria, 3b
Aaron Hill, 2b
Roy Halladay, p
Hanley Ramirez, ss
Chase Utley, 2b
Albert Pujols, 1b
Ryan Braun, rf
Raul Ibanez, lf
David Wright, 3b
Shane Victorino, cf
Yadier Molina, c
Tim Lincecum, p

Lincecum missed last year's All-Star Game because of sickness. He joked Monday that he is going to lock himself in his room so he can pitch Tuesday.

Manuel said he enjoyed putting together his lineup, but he said he will enjoy it much more if it works. Manuel wants to win, something the NL has not done since 1996.

"I'm sure the players there [want] that, too," Manuel said. "I hear that. And yeah, our league definitely wants to win, and our league definitely would like to be the superior league. I think the Phillies are looking to get back to the World Series. We're going to try to bring that attention back to the National League."

Manuel chose Victorino to replace injured Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran in the starting lineup.

Manuel also said he is going to be cautious with Ibanez, who has played just two games since returning from the disabled list with a strained left groin. That could mean Ibanez gets just one at-bat, opening up more opportunities for many of the NL outfield reserves.

"We're here to win the game and get home-field advantage in the National League," Manuel said.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.