Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell are having All-Star seasons for the Phillies, so it shouldn't be a surprise to see them among the leading vote-getters among National League outfielders in the NL balloting update released Wednesday. Abreu ranks sixth and Burrell 10th in the early returns for the annual All-Star Game, to be played July 12 in Detroit. They trail luminaries such as New York's Carlos Beltran, St. Louis' Jim Edmonds and Florida's Miguel Cabrera. Getting voted in as an outfielder has always been a daunting task when considering the sheer talent throughout the league, especially with names like Barry Bonds, Edmonds, Larry Walker, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa dominating the ballot boxes in the past. But Sosa is in the American League now, with Baltimore, and Bonds hasn't played this season.
Could this be the time for Abreu and Burrell? Even if they don't get voted in, a place on manager Tony La Russa's reserve squad could be waiting for at least one of them. Abreu made his first All-Star appearance last season, while Burrell has never played in the Midsummer Classic. After a chilly April, Abreu has gone non-stop in May, hitting .402 with 11 homers and 30 RBIs, including homering in nine of 10 games for which he was named NL Player of the Week. His hitting .335 overall with 12 home runs. "He's been carrying us," said Jim Thome. "It's hard to get in a groove like that, and he's in it." Burrell has put together two productive months, and has won NL Player of the Week twice. With 42 RBIs, nine homers and a .309 average, he's become the right-handed force in the middle of the lineup, and eliminated concerns about the wrist injury that curtailed his 2004 season.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.