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Tejada leads AL shortstops in voting

Tejada, Roberts leading in AL voting

Miguel Tejada has been regarded as one of the best shortstops in the game for the past several years, however, he has never started an All-Star Game, even in his MVP season of 2002.

And Brian Roberts is in line to start as well.

Tejada is an early favorite to gain that honor as he leads all American League shortstops with 504,499 votes as the first All-Star ballot totals were released Tuesday. Tejada, who is among the league leaders in RBIs and doubles, knocked in an Orioles record 150 runs last season.

This year he's off to another amazing start and was edged by Roberts for American League Player of the Month for April. He leads the Yankees' Derek Jeter, Boston's Edgar Renteria, Detroit's Carlos Guillen and the Rangers' Michael Young.

Tejada, who was added on to the AL roster last season by Yankees manager Joe Torre, won the Home Run Derby in Houston with a record number of home runs in the contest.

Perhaps the only other Oriole who could claim to have a better season than Tejada is Roberts, who leads Texas' Alfonso Soriano in voting by 1,450 votes, with a total of 433,461 votes. Roberts has spent most of the season leading the AL in batting and has already produced 11 home runs, six more than his previous career high total of five in 2003.

Roberts has hit for average, power, played fine defense and emerged a team leader for a team that's spent most of the first half in first place.

Boston's Mark Bellhorn, New York's Tony Womack and Seattle's Bret Boone join Soriano and Roberts in the top five second basemen.

Melvin Mora's season has been overshadowed by the previously mentioned players, but he has still put up good numbers after a career season in 2004. Mora was left off the All-Star team last season but was the Orioles' lone representative in 2003.

Mora won a Silver Slugger Award last season, batting a team record .340. He is in fourth place in voting with 150,861 votes. He trails the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, Boston's Bill Mueller and Seattle's Adrian Beltre. Texas' Hank Blalock is also in the top five.

Sammy Sosa has been selected to the All-Star Game seven times and is in the mix in voting in his first year with the Orioles. He is eighth among AL outfielders despite missing 16 games with a staph infection in his left foot.

Boston's Manny Ramirez, the Angels' Vladimir Guerrero and Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki are the leaders.

Rafael Palmeiro is playing mostly first base for the Orioles this season but he is among the top three in voting for designated hitters. Palmeiro has 172,220 votes, trailing Boston's David Ortiz and New York's Jason Giambi. Palmeiro could reach the 3,000-hit plateau this season.

Catcher Javy Lopez is expected to miss the All-Star Game with a broken right hand sustained in late May, but he is fourth in AL voting behind Boston's Jason Varitek, Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez and the Yankees' Jorge Posada.

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

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