PHILADELPHIA -- Fans don't vote for pitchers on the All-Star ballot, but Marlins reliever Steve Cishek has the endorsement of a former All-Star to be part of the Midsummer Classic.
"If he keeps this up, he's definitely [deserving]," said Miami closer Heath Bell, a three-time All-Star.
Cishek, 25, is rapidly becoming one of the most effective relievers in the National League. He's been used in various roles, setting up in the seventh and eighth. And on occasion, he's pitched in the ninth or extra innings.
In 23 appearances and 23 innings, the right-hander with the side-arm delivery has a 1.17 ERA. He's struck out 24, and hitters are batting .203 against him. He's given up just 16 hits.
"He's an All-Star-caliber pitcher right now," Bell said. "The only bad part is he's a middle-relief guy. You can't really say he's a setup guy, because we haven't really had a one-two punch. We've used a lot of people, especially my punch hasn't always been there."
In Saturday's 5-4 win at Philadelphia, Cishek worked out of a jam in the eighth inning, striking out Carlos Ruiz and Ty Wigginton.
"I keep saying, one of the biggest surprises and the biggest things we have is that kid. We put him in different roles," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He's handled it well. He's a very key guy out of the bullpen."