Konerko leads Sox in All-Star balloting

Konerko leads Sox in All-Star balloting

CHICAGO -- Ozzie Guillen will leave the American League All-Star selection process to Boston manager Terry Francona, aside from his brief personal recommendations. But the White Sox manager is not surprised that only two of his players rank in the top five by position in the fan voting, despite his team starting this week with the best record in baseball.

"Most of the time the kids are voting for their favorite players and not always voting for the guy that should be there," Guillen said. "But I know this is fun for the fans.

"Involving the fans in something means the All-Star Game is for them. It really allows them to be a bit into the game."

Paul Konerko, with 293,405 ballots cast, maintained the third spot in voting at first base, trailing the Yankees' Tino Martinez and Boston's Kevin Millar. Texas' Mark Teixeira, who has the best overall offensive numbers at first base, ranks one spot behind Konerko.

Despite completing his first official week of action for the 2005 season Sunday in Chicago, support for Frank Thomas still has been strong. Thomas -- with 126,590 votes cast -- sits fifth at designated hitter, well behind Boston's David Ortiz, who is the AL's leading vote-getter.

Scott Podsednik, with 187,533 ballots cast, and Jermaine Dye, who has received 97,566 votes, are both among the top 15 vote-getters in outfield balloting.

A.J. Pierzynski doesn't rank in the top five at catcher, despite playing a huge role with one of the top pitching staffs in all of baseball. But if the White Sox were to get more than a single representative, they probably would come from the pitching staff.

Starters Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland and closer Dustin Hermanson all deserve serious consideration. Guillen even added Jose Contreras to the list of worthwhile candidates, with Contreras leading the American League in opponents average against. Esteban Loaiza, who now pitches for Washington, was the White Sox's lone representative in 2004.

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