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AL All-Star races coming down to wire

AL All-Star races coming down to wire

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The American League came one step closer to naming its starting lineup for the All-Star Game on Monday, when the league announced its final balloting update before the polls close Thursday night. Tight races remain at first base and in the outfield as fans continue to have chances to make a statement with their remaining votes.

Former Most Valuable Player Justin Morneau remains atop the heap at first base, edging New York's Mark Teixeira by about 245,000 votes. The margin is even smaller in the outfield, where the final starter, third-place holder Carl Crawford of the Rays, rests fewer than 170,000 votes ahead of the next closest competitor, Nelson Cruz of the Rangers. Cruz had been in the top three two weeks ago.

Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki has led the outfielders in balloting from wire to wire, and the Rangers' Josh Hamilton, who moved up to second place and trails Ichiro by only 18,554 votes, joins Crawford among those in position for a starting berth. Cruz stands about 300,000 votes behind Suzuki, illustrating the tightly packed nature of the group. Three Yankees -- Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner -- trail Cruz, splitting the vote.

The rest of the ballot has remained static, with some of the leaders racking up huge vote totals. Two Yankees -- shortstop Derek Jeter and second baseman Robinson Cano -- have drawn overwhelming support at their respective positions. Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer has received more than 3.9 million votes, more than triple the total of the next-closest catcher, the Yankees' Jorge Posada.

Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria leads New York's Alex Rodriguez by more than a million ballots at third base, and designated hitter Vlad Guerrero of the Rangers has run away with the balloting at his position. Guerrero, in an interesting twist, leads the man who replaced him in Los Angeles -- veteran Hideki Matsui -- by more than 1.7 million votes.

And with those totals comes a virtual changing of the guard. Three of the balloting leaders -- Morneau, Longoria and Cano -- have never started in an All-Star Game. It's old hat for some others, including Suzuki -- who is vying for his 10th All-Star Game in as many big-league seasons -- and Jeter, who has been an All-Star 10 times in the past 15 years.

Guerrero, a nine-time All-Star, can make this one of his most memorable Midsummer Classics. He spent six productive seasons with the Angels before signing with Texas last winter, and now he's in prime position to start the All-Star Game at Angel Stadium on July 13. Guerrero, the league's MVP in 2004, is currently hitting .327 with 15 home runs and 60 RBIs.

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites using the 2010 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot sponsored by Sprint until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. Sprint subscribers can now vote on the go with select Sprint devices. They can learn more about how to vote on their smart phones at MLB.com/Sprint.

Starting rosters will be announced during the 2010 All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS on Sunday. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by Sprint.

And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2010 All-Star Game MVP Vote sponsored by Sprint.

The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.

2010 MLB All-Star Balloting : American League (Click on player's name to go to his Campaign Headquarters)
1st Base
RANKPLAYER NAMEAL TEAMTOTAL VOTES
1.Justin MorneauTwins2,118,654
2.Mark TeixeiraYankees1,863,235
3.Miguel CabreraTigers1,832,782
4.Kevin YoukilisRed Sox1,006,805
5.Carlos PenaRays767,275
2nd Base
RANKPLAYER NAMEAL TEAMTOTAL VOTES
1.Robinson CanoYankees2,948,269
2.Dustin PedroiaRed Sox1,518,334
3.Ian KinslerRangers1,302,245
4.Orlando HudsonTwins978,044
5.Ben ZobristRays806,407
3rd Base
RANKPLAYER NAMEAL TEAMTOTAL VOTES
1.Evan LongoriaRays3,118,600
2.Alex RodriguezYankees1,921,325
3.Michael YoungRangers1,230,264
4.Adrian BeltreRed Sox805,300
5.Brandon IngeTigers673,273
Shortstop
RANKPLAYER NAMEAL TEAMTOTAL VOTES
1.Derek JeterYankees3,350,155
2.Elvis AndrusRangers1,607,165
3.J.J. HardyTwins897,710
4.Jason BartlettRays789,833
5.Alex GonzalezBlue Jays683,135
Catcher
RANKPLAYER NAMEAL TEAMTOTAL VOTES
1.Joe MauerTwins3,968,039
2.Jorge PosadaYankees1,304,978
3.Victor MartinezRed Sox896,413
4.Taylor TeagardenRangers507,859
5.Gerald LairdTigers456,283
Designated Hitter
RANKPLAYER NAMEAL TEAMTOTAL VOTES
1.Vladimir GuerreroRangers2,889,243
2.Hideki MatsuiAngels1,224,976
3.David OrtizRed Sox969,291
4.Ken Griffey Jr.Mariners870,644
5.Jason KubelTwins763,409
Outfield
RANKPLAYER NAMEAL TEAMTOTAL VOTES
1.Ichiro SuzukiMariners1,924,904
2.Josh HamiltonRangers1,906,350
3.Carl CrawfordRays1,782,035
4.Nelson CruzRangers1,621,771
5.Nick SwisherYankees1,346,148
6.Curtis GrandersonYankees1,214,412
7.Brett GardnerYankees1,189,995
8.Torii HunterAngels1,161,623
9.Magglio OrdonezTigers1,117,038
10.B.J. UptonRays1,021,022
11.Vernon WellsBlue Jays942,950
12.Austin JacksonTigers939,970
13.Michael CuddyerTwins888,976
14.Bobby AbreuAngels849,257
15.Denard SpanTwins789,831
Results updated: Monday, June 28, 2010

Spencer Fordin 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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