Catcher Jason Varitek appears in greatest jeopardy of being overtaken by an Eastern Bloc outsider. Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez, whose supporters have been relentless in bridging his deficit, stormed within 35,500 votes of the Boston captain.Yet Pudge also has to watch his back: the Yanks' Jorge Posada remains on his tail, a very bridgeable 105,000 votes behind. Pierzynski, who last week trailed Cleveland's Victor Martinez by 160 votes, now leads him by 46,000 for fourth place. For all of this jockeying, the only newcomer on the leaderboard, which includes the top 15 outfielders and the top five at all other positions, is Seattle second baseman Jose Lopez. Lopez moved into fifth place with a new total of 265,692, knocking Baltimore's Brian Roberts off the board. Fans can continue to vote up to 25 times with the Monster.com 2006 All-Star Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites. The All-Star Game rosters will be released 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 -- Guillen 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 Podsednik (AL) to the rosters with the 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 back-to-back-to-back Midsummer Classics since that provision was added prior to the 2003 World Series, and eight straight overall.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.