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Final big push needed for Pudge

Final big push needed for Pudge

Ivan Rodriguez continues to trail Boston's Jason Varitek in All-Star balloting among American League catchers, making the chances that the Tigers will have a player in the starting lineup when the Midsummer Classic comes to Detroit next month look progressively bleaker.

The stagnancy comes as Rodriguez continues to enjoy an offensive resurgence. His 2-for-4 performance Sunday raised his average to .298 for the season and gave him a .345 average in June -- not quite his .500 June from last year, but still a sign that he remains one of the top hitting catchers in the game.

Though his home run total is down, his 20 doubles rank second in the American League through Sunday. He was also the only catcher in the Majors with multiple triples this season.

Defensively, opponents have all but ceased running on Rodriguez, who has thrown out 13 of 30 would-be basestealers. He has not committed an error in his last 38 games at catcher.

Rodriguez trails Varitek by over 300,000 votes in the latest round of balloting results. He has never led Varitek during the balloting process. He'll need a large surge in votes to pass Varitek and become the first catcher ever to start in 11 All-Star Games. Pudge, Johnny Bench and Mike Piazza have started 10 each.

For Tigers players, the balloting standings remain unchanged from previous weeks. The other Tigers who rank in the top five at their respective positions are DH Dmitri Young and shortstop Carlos Guillen, who both stand fourth.

Balloting has already ended at Comerica Park. Fans can vote online at MLB.com through 11:59 p.m. ET on June 30.

Jason Beck 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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