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Fans taking notice of Teixeira

Fans taking notice of Rangers' Teixeira

MIAMI -- Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira has been surging at the plate, and he's also surging in the fan balloting for the All-Star Game.

In the latest tabulations, Teixeira has 482,636 votes, enough to move from fourth place to second place among American League first basemen. He now trails only New York's Tino Martinez (615,712 votes).

Teixeira, who got off to a slow start last year and was the only member of the Rangers' starting infield who didn't make the AL All-Star team, came on strong in the second half and wound up winning a Silver Slugger Award. Going into Sunday's game, he was third in the AL with 16 homers. Teixeira was hitting .296 with 48 RBIs. He has also been fielding his position in expert fashion.

Ameriquest Field balloting for the 2005 All-Star Game in Detroit ends on June 19.

All four Texas starting infielders are getting strong ballot support.

Second baseman Alfonso Soriano, who was the MVP and top vote-getter in the 2004 All-Star Game, is second in the balloting at his position with 816,658 votes. Soriano trails only Baltimore's Brian Roberts (921,377 votes).

Soriano has been slowed lately by a mildly strained left hamstring. He went into Sunday's game hitting .289 with 15 homers and 36 RBIs. Through Sunday, he had a 14-game hitting streak, which was the longest active streak in the Major Leagues.

Shortstop Michael Young is fifth in the latest balloting at his high-profile position with 160,567 votes. Young trails Baltimore's Miguel Tejada (1,058,761 votes), New York's Derek Jeter (754,536), Boston's Edgar Renteria (516,935) and Detroit's Carlos Guillen (177,688).

Young has been on a surge at the plate. Heading into Sunday's game, he was hitting .432 over a 19-game span. With 77 hits in his first 59 games, Young has put himself in position to shoot for a third consecutive 200-hit season.

Third baseman Hank Blalock (240,150 votes) is also fifth in the balloting at his position. Blalock trails New York's Alex Rodriguez (1,209,382), Boston's Bill Mueller (414,569), Baltimore's Melvin Mora (325,880) and Seattle's Adrian Beltre (246,247).

Blalock went into Sunday's game hitting .286 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs. He led all Major League third basemen with a .994 fielding percentage. Blalock, a two-time All-Star, has committed just one error all year.

Robert Falkoff 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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