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Abreu third among NL outfielders

Abreu an All-Star starter? Keep voting

PHILADELPHIA -- It appears as if Bobby Abreu won't have to wait until the Final Vote to see whether he'll make his second National League All-Star squad.

The last member named to the NL squad last year -- thanks to the special vote by fans -- Abreu is cruising toward another appearance. The Phillies outfielder, having an MVP-type season, remains in third place among outfielders in the latest All-Star balloting totals. He trails the Mets' Carlos Beltran and the Cardinals' Jim Edmonds.

"Bobby is one of the league's best hitters," said manager Charlie Manuel, who often compares Abreu to former Minnesota great Tony Oliva. "He's been carrying us for a while."

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Abreu would become the first Phillies outfielder elected to start the All-Star Game since Lenny Dykstra in 1995.

Left fielder Pat Burrell also made a push in the latest results, re-entering the top 10. At eighth behind the Dodgers' Milton Bradley, Burrell has put up numbers nearly identical to Abreu.

While Abreu has Burrell beat as far as his yearly consistency, Abreu has been especially dangerous this season, and has proven his worth while Jim Thome was out of the lineup.

Abreu's major push in the voting this month can also be attributed to a generous dose of home games for the Phillies, and a major campaign by the team to get him elected. It shouldn't be that hard for the 31-year-old, who is having a season worthy of first-ballot consideration.

In-stadium balloting at Citizens Bank Park has ended, but online voting ends on June 30. The starters and reserves will be announced on July 3.

Getting voted in as an outfielder has always been difficult considering the talent throughout the NL, especially with the likes of Barry Bonds, Edmonds, Larry Walker, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa dominating the ballot boxes. But Sosa is in the AL, and Bonds hasn't played this season.

This doesn't mean that Philadelphia's corner outfielders aren't deserving on their own merits, since you'll find both among the league leaders in many offensive categories.

"Both deserve to go," Manuel said. "They've both played consistently all season."

The 2005 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on the "Major League Baseball All-Star Game Selection Show" presented by Chevrolet, which will air live on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 3. This special program will feature the announcement of the 17 elected starters, as determined by the fan balloting program, and 45 pitchers and reserves, as determined by the player ballot and the two All-Star team managers -- Terry Francona of the Boston Red Sox and Tony La Russa of the St. Louis Cardinals -- and Major League Baseball.

Immediately following the "Major League Baseball All-Star Game Selection Show," fans will have the opportunity to select the final position player for each league's 32-man roster at MLB.com. The Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Final Vote will provide fans the opportunity to cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over a three-day period. Both winners of the Ameriquest All-Star Final Vote will be announced after the voting has concluded on Wednesday, July 6.

Concluding the All-Star balloting process, fans once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the 76th All-Star Game via the Ameriquest 2005 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com.

The All-Star Game, set for July 17, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.

Ken Mandel 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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