Vote until tonight; many races can be swayed

Tight competition in AL at 2B, 3B, DH, OF; NL's 3B, OF battles too close to call

Vote until tonight; many races can be swayed

As the voting window for the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot heads to its finish at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, there are several key races for starting position players in the American League and National League that are coming down to the wire.

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

Top international prospects signing breakdown

Top international prospects signing breakdown

Today marks the start of the 2015-16 international signing period, a day when some of the best teenage prospects in the world are signing with teams and taking huge steps toward fulfilling their Major League dreams.

With the international signing period officially underway, here is a look at MLBPipeline.com's Top 30 International Prospects and which of them have agreed to terms with clubs so far.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Did Altuve slide into All-Star lead?

Did Altuve slide into All-Star lead?

HOUSTON -- Many viewed Wednesday night's 6-5 win over the Royals as Jose Altuve's final audition to start the All-Star Game at second base for the American League as fan voting draws to a close on Thursday at 10:59 p.m. CT.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Today's starting lineups: July 2

Below are today's starting lineups that have been made public by Major League Baseball's clubs.

A lineup is not official until it is handed to the umpire.

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Dodgers open int'l signing period with a flurry

Sources say club has deals with Alvarez, Heredia, Brito and Cruz

Dodgers open int'l signing period with a flurry

The Los Angeles Dodgers are making a big splash on the first day international prospects can sign, stocking their Minor League system with several top international prospects, including right-handed pitcher Yadiel Alvarez for $16 million.

According to industry sources, the Dodgers agreed to terms with Alvarez, 19, ranked No. 2 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list; outfielder Starling Heredia, ranked No. 5, for $2.6 million; infielder Ronny Brito, ranked No. 21, for $2 million; and shortstop Oneal Cruz for $950,000. The club hasn't confirmed any of the deals.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays sign Vladimir Jr. as int'l free agent

Son of nine-time All-Star, 2004 AL MVP ranked No. 4 on MLB.com Top 30 list

Blue Jays sign Vladimir Jr. as int'l free agent

There's a familiar name set to begin his journey through the professional ranks.

The Blue Jays have agreed to terms with 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Vladimir Guerrero Jr., according to industry sources. Guerrero is ranked No. 4 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Lindsay Berra

Female French teen ready for next chapter

Shortstop Mayeux aims to hone craft this summer with ambition of taking game to another level

Female French teen ready for next chapter

French shortstop Melissa Mayeux made history on June 20, when she became the first female to be on a Major League Baseball international registration list, making her eligible to sign with an MLB club anytime after July 2.

Mayeux's story had legs, and was widely reported in both the United States and Europe. But the prospect of her inking a contract during the signing period is not likely, and it has nothing to do with the fact that she's female. Mayeux is just 16 years old; international prospects from Europe sometimes sign closer to their 18th birthdays, after teams have had more time to watch their development and assess their skill.

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Lindsay Berra is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

DraftKings picks: Jays, Rockies could run wild

DraftKings picks: Jays, Rockies could run wild

Welcome to DraftKings fantasy baseball, the Official Daily Fantasy Game of Major League Baseball.

The players listed below could provide difference-making stats for DraftKings participants on Thursday.

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Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cruz takes the cake with birthday blast

Slugger launches two-run shot vs. Padres on 35th birthday

Cruz takes the cake with birthday blast

SAN DIEGO -- Nelson Cruz didn't want to wait for the cake, so the Mariners slugger sliced his own gift -- a two-run homer in the top of the ninth -- in Seattle's 7-0 victory over the Padres in Wednesday's Interleague series finale at Petco Park.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

12 reasons to sign up for MLB.TV now

12 reasons to sign up for MLB.TV now

Here are a dozen reasons to sign up right now for MLB.TV, the No. 1 live streaming sports service:

• Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for #ASGWorthy players

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phenom Sano promoted by Twins, Vargas optioned

Phenom Sano promoted by Twins, Vargas optioned

CINCINNATI -- In a surprising move, the Twins optioned first baseman/designated hitter Kennys Vargas to Double-A Chattanooga after Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Reds. The Twins made a corresponding move before Thursday's game, and they called up top prospect Miguel Sano.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB, The Color Run team up again for 5K run

Participants will be 'splashed in colors' for untimed race on July 11

MLB, The Color Run team up again for 5K run

The Nasty Boys were a colorful combination and one of the best short-relief success stories in Major League Baseball history, leading the Reds to the World Series title 25 years ago. On July 11, Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble and Randy Myers will be together again in downtown Cincinnati, to help cheer on participants in The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K presented by Nike.

In addition, Mr. Redlegs, Rosie Red, Gapper and Mr. Red -- along with eight other MLB mascots as well as Runicorn, The Color Run mascot -- will be part of the festivities at the start the race and will be available for photographs. Mascots scheduled to appear alongside the Reds mascots include: Baxter (D-backs), Homer (Braves), Paws (Tigers), Orbit (Astros), Bernie (Brewers), Stomper (Athletics), Mariner Moose and Rangers Captain.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Carrasco ends up on the precipice of history

Right-hander fans 13 in falling one strike short of no-hitter vs. Rays

Carrasco ends up on the precipice of history

ST. PETERSBURG -- Carlos Carrasco spun around swiftly and watched helplessly as the baseball sailed over second baseman Jason Kipnis. While Kipnis jumped and stretched in an admirable effort to pluck the ball from the air, it was no use. This single from Tampa Bay's Joey Butler was as clean as they come.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals pitching is on historic pace

By one metric, it's the best staff in 100 years

Cardinals pitching is on historic pace

The Cardinals are on pace to have the single greatest earned run prevention season of the last 100 years. There's plenty of qualifiers to that and reasons why it's not likely to keep up over the course of the entire year, but over the first three months, that's a cold hard fact. They're preventing runs in a way no one alive has ever really seen before -- and they're doing it without ace Adam Wainwright, who injured his Achilles tendon in just his fourth start of the season.

We'll get to how they're doing it, but first, let's explain how we can make that exclamatory statement. In order to compare across seasons and eras, we're using a relatively simple metric called "ERA-," read as "ERA minus," which sets league-average as 100. If you're familiar with OPS+ or ERA+, it's the exact same principle, except that excellent ERA marks are supposed to be lower, not higher. The Cardinals have a 69 ERA-, which means they're preventing earned runs 31 percent better than league average, a mark not topped since the 1909 Cubs of Three-Finger Brown and Orval Overall.

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Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bautista, Donaldson lead Jays' breakout

All-Star candidates swat two of Toronto's five HRs

Bautista, Donaldson lead Jays' breakout

 TORONTO -- All-Star candidate Jose Bautista broke out of his mini slump Wednesday afternoon, and the rest of the Blue Jays lineup followed suit in a dominating 11-2 victory over the Red Sox on Canada Day.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets land pair of top international free agents

Venezuelan SS Gimenez ($1.2M), Dominican SS Guerrero ($1.5M) agree to deals

Mets land pair of top international free agents

The Mets are adding two premier prospects, including one familiar baseball name, to their Minor League ranks.

According to industry sources, the Mets agreed to a $1.2 million signing bonus with Venezuelan shortstop Andres Gimenez, ranked No. 15 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list, and a $1.5 million signing bonus with Dominican Republic shortstop Gregory Guerrero, who is ranked No. 17.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reds sign int'l OF Olivo for $1 million bonus

Reds sign int'l OF Olivo for $1 million bonus

Dominican Republic teenager Cristian Olivo has improved dramatically since the beginning of the year, and now he's one step closer to starting the path toward his big league dream.

The Reds have agreed to a $1 million signing bonus for Olivo, ranked No. 23 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list, according to industry sources.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

2015 Draft: Signing and Bonus Tracker

Here's a complete breakdown of which 2015 Draft picks from the first 10 rounds have agreed to terms, along with their reported bonuses and starting assignments. The list will be updated through the July 17 signing deadline.

Clubs have not announced or confirmed bonuses.

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Dipoto resigns; Stoneman named Angels' GM

Dipoto resigns; Stoneman named Angels' GM

ANAHEIM -- Jerry Dipoto ultimately felt he'd had enough.

After more than three years of persistent discord with long-time manager Mike Scioscia, Dipoto abruptly resigned as general manager on Wednesday, five days after what sources described as a heated meeting that proved to be the final straw.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners sign int'l shortstop prospect Vargas

Sources say club and Dominican teen have agreed to $1.7 million signing bonus

Mariners sign int'l shortstop prospect Vargas

At 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, teenage shortstop Carlos Vargas is one of the biggest middle infielders on the international market this year.

Now, Vargas, ranked No. 26 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list, is taking a huge step toward his future. The Mariners have agreed to a $1.7 million signing bonus with the teenage infielder from the Dominican Republic, according to industry sources.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs sign 5 of top 30 int'l free agents

Club inks SS Perlaza, OF Estiwal, SS Ademan, C Amaya, 3B Martinez

Cubs sign 5 of top 30 int'l free agents

The Cubs have resumed their role as one of the biggest players on the international market after a one-year hiatus.

According to industry sources, the Cubs have agreed to terms with shortstop Yonathan Perlaza, ranked No. 13 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list, for $1.3 million, outfielder Yonathan Sierra Estiwal, ranked No. 16, for $2.5 million, shortstop Aramis Ademan, ranked No. 19, for $2 million, Panamanian catcher Miguel Amaya, ranked No. 25, for a deal worth $1.25 million and third baseman Christopher Martinez, ranked No. 28, for $1 million.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Did you know: Carrasco's near no-hitter

Right-hander's bid becomes 3rd this season broken up in 9th

Did you know: Carrasco's near no-hitter

Although Carlos Carrasco came up one out shy in his no-hit bid on Wednesday, the Indians starter still turned in a career night while making some history along the way.

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Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jose Fernandez shaves superfan's head at ballpark

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Jose Fernandez shaves superfan's head at ballpark

Sure, Marlins Man might be the most well-traveled supporter of Miami's MLB franchise, but this guy is without a doubt the most empathetic. Andres Salgado is an absolute diehard Marlins fan with a particular affinity for 2013 NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez.

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Giants sign infielder Fox as int'l free agent

Sources say the two sides agree to a signing bonus of $6 million

Giants sign infielder Fox as int'l free agent

The Giants are on the verge of adding another athletic infielder to their Minor League system, coming to terms with shortstop Lucius Fox of the Bahamas on a bonus of $6 million, according to industry sources.

Fox, who turned 18 today, ranked No. 3 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Eovaldi quiets Angels as Yankees snap skid

Eovaldi quiets Angels as Yankees snap skid

ANAHEIM -- Nathan Eovaldi tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings, and Garrett Jones smacked a long solo home run off Matt Shoemaker, helping the Yankees avoid a sweep by the Angels with a 3-1 win Wednesday at Angel Stadium. The Yankees stayed within a half-game of the first-place Orioles in the American League East.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter and David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros sign int'l OF prospect Celestino

Sources say Dominican star's bonus is for $2.25 million, plus $275,000 for college

Astros sign int'l OF prospect Celestino

The Astros have agreed to terms on a package worth $2.5 million with teenage outfielder Gilberto Celestino, according to industry sources.

The deal for Celestino, ranked No. 7 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list, includes a $2.25 million signing bonus and $275,000 for college.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Walker leads Bucs' 21-hit attack in win over Tigers

Walker leads Bucs' 21-hit attack in win over Tigers

DETROIT -- Second baseman Neil Walker's two-homer night propelled the Pirates to a season-high 21 hits as they topped the Tigers, 9-3, on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros hoping Springer can avoid trip to DL

Astros hoping Springer can avoid trip to DL

HOUSTON -- Primed to enter the All-Star break among the best teams in baseball, the Astros were dealt a severe blow during Wednesday night's 6-5 win over the Royals.

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Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Posey takes foul off mask, passes concussion test

Posey takes foul off mask, passes concussion test

MIAMI -- Giants catcher Buster Posey said that he could play as soon as Thursday after absorbing the shock of a foul tip and being forced to leave Wednesday night's 6-5 loss to the Marlins in the fifth inning.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.