J. Upton hopes to repeat Freeman’s NL Final Vote success

NEW YORK — Braves fans responded en masse a year ago in a flurry of online and text-message voting that made first baseman Freddie Freeman the winner of the last spot on the National League All-Star team, edging out Yasiel Puig and three others in Final Vote balloting.

They’ll see if they can do it again this year as Braves left fielder Justin Upton is among five candidates for the Final Vote All-Star spot along with Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau, Nationals second baseman Anthony Rendon, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and Marlins third basman Casey McGehee. Voting continues through 4 p.m. Thursday.

Freeman drew a record 19.7 million votes last season to pull out what most considered to be an update win over Puig, given all the hype and support that Puig’s candidacy received from ESPN and other media outlets.

“That’s very impressive,” Upton said of Freeman’s vote total. “Obviously Freddie’s been here a long time and he’s kind of the face of our franchise. It’ll be interesting to see how Braves Country reacts to me. I’m hoping it’s the same way.”

Upton twice made the All-Star team in 2009 and 2011 when he was with the Diamondbacks.

“Any time you can go to an All-Star game you’ve got to be excited about it,” he said. “It’s exciting. Obviously I’m not there yet, but if I do get chosen I think it’ll be an experience – go and enjoy it, and I’ll have a few teammates there, so it’ll be fun to be there with them.”

Upton seeks to join three Braves on the 2014 NL All-Star team: Freeman, closer Craig Kimbrel, and starting pitcher Julio Teheran.