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Votebook: Short shrift unlikely for Jeter

Votebook: No short shrift for Jeter

Last summer, the Midsummer Classic saw a change in power at the shortstop position in the American League, as Miguel Tejada started and won the game's Most Valuable Player award, Michael Young made his second straight All-Star appearance -- and Derek Jeter stayed home.

Jeter, who has played in six of the past eight All-Star Games, is doing what he can to make sure that he won't be left off the AL's roster this year.

The Yankees captain is off to one of his finest starts, batting .338 with five home runs and 38 RBIs. Jeter, who has captured the last two Gold Gloves at the position, ranks in the top 10 in the AL in batting average (3rd), stolen bases (6th), on-base percentage (6th) and runs scored (9th).

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Tejada is right on Jeter's heels, posting another solid season in Baltimore with a .321 average, 14 homers and 40 RBIs.

The Orioles shortstop has been to three All-Star Games in his career, though last summer's marked his first as a starter, as he became the first Baltimore shortstop to start since Cal Ripken in 2001.

Young, who is looking for his third consecutive trip to the Midsummer Classic, isn't far behind the competition, hitting .313 with three home runs and 33 RBIs for the Rangers.

Beyond the big three are some worthy alternatives as well, including Detroit's Carlos Guillen (.297-6-27), Los Angeles' Orlando Cabrera (.284-4-33) and Oakland's Bobby Crosby (eight homers and 24 RBIs).

In the National League, the race is wide open.

Last year's starter, David Eckstein, leads all NL shortstops with a .330 average. Eckstein may be hurt by his lack of power numbers, but his defense should help make up for some of that.

Eckstein will certainly earn his share of votes, but he faces some stiff competition, both from the league's veterans and rising stars.

Cincinnati's Felipe Lopez, a reserve in last year's game, is having a solid season, though not a spectacular one, batting .284 with five home runs, 19 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.

Edgar Renteria has responded well after being traded from Boston to Atlanta this winter, batting .324 for the Braves with five home runs and 21 RBIs. Renteria has been to four All-Star Games, all as a National Leaguer.

Omar Vizquel of the Giants, a three-time All-Star with the Indians, is having a tremendous season at the age of 39. Vizquel is hitting .319 with three home runs, 22 RBIs and seven stolen bases, giving San Francisco a solid presence toward the top of its lineup.

Two of the NL's young stars are also challenging for their spot on the All-Star roster, as speedsters Hanley Ramirez of Florida and Jose Reyes of New York have made their marks through the first two months of the season.

Ramirez, who was dealt to the Marlins by the Red Sox in the Josh Beckett trade this winter, is hitting .314 in his rookie campaign with two homers, 18 RBIs and 16 steals.

Reyes, playing his third full season with the Mets, has five homers, 27 RBIs and a league-leading 20 stolen bases.

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who was named to the 2005 NL roster as a replacement for the Dodgers' Cesar Izturis, has been to three All-Star Games during his career. Rollins is having a down season (.250-5-15-9), but he remains one of the most popular players in the league.

Other contenders in the NL include Pittsburgh's Jack Wilson (.309-5-19), San Diego's Khalil Greene (nine HR, 33 RBIs, both tops among NL shortstops) and Los Angeles' Rafael Furcal, who made up for a dreadful April (.198-0-2) with a solid May (.311-2-14).

Fans can cast votes up to 25 times with the Monster.com 2006 All-Star Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites. Online balloting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on June 29.

Rosters for the 77th All-Star Game will be unveiled at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 2. The announcement will reveal the 16 elected starters, as determined by fan balloting, and 45 pitchers and reserves, as determined by the player ballot, the two All-Star team managers -- Ozzie Guillen of the World Series champion Chicago White Sox and Phil Garner of the NL champion Houston Astros -- and Major League Baseball.

Fans will once again have the opportunity to select the final position player for each league's 32-man roster at MLB.com. The 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. Fans added Roy Oswalt (NL) and Scott Podsednik (AL) to the rosters with that Final Vote last summer.

For the fourth consecutive year, the league that wins the All-Star Game will receive home-field advantage during the World Series. The AL has won each Midsummer Classic since that provision was added prior to the 2003 World Series, and eight straight overall.

Mark Feinsand 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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