Pedroia in heated race for AL Final Vote

Candidate in third place, would be Red Sox's seventh All-Star if elected

Pedroia in heated race for AL Final Vote

BOSTON -- The message was written in chalk about 15 feet behind where the catchers crouched in Wednesday night's game at Fenway Park -- an 11-6 victory for the Red Sox over the Rangers.

It said "#VOTEPEDEY."

Cast your Esurance Final Vote for Pedroia

Red Sox fans will have to keep doing so if they want to get second baseman Dustin Pedroia -- an American League candidate for the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote -- to his fifth All-Star Game.

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Pedroia ranked third among the AL's five Final Vote candidates when Thursday afternoon's voting update was released after swapping the third and fourth positions with Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler multiple times over the past 24 hours. Blue Jays outfielder Michael Saunders and Astros outfielder George Springer were in first and second place, respectively. Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is in fifth place.

This is the first time Pedroia has been a Final Vote candidate.

If fans can give Pedroia the push he needs, the Red Sox would have seven players at the All-Star Game for the first time since 2002. Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Steven Wright and Craig Kimbrel were selected to the team on Tuesday.

"I'm not too much of a self-promoter, but it would be good to go to see some of our young guys at the All-Star Game," said Pedroia. "I'm pretty proud of all of them getting a chance to start, and obviously to watch David in his last one would be pretty cool."

Send Dustin Pedroia to San Diego

Fans can cast their Final Vote ballots until 4 p.m. ET on Friday.

"He's healthy," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Pedroia. "He came into camp in great shape and has continued his performance throughout. He's well deserving to be in San Diego."

Pedroia has hit .305 while playing in 82 of Boston's first 84 games. He has 103 hits -- including 20 doubles and eight homers -- along with 35 RBIs.

To help Pedroia's cause, the Red Sox have formed an alliance with the Giants, who have Brandon Belt as a National League Final Vote candidate. Considering Belt entered Thursday leading his NL Final Vote peers, that could be a wise strategic move.

Fans can vote for the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote until 4 p.m. ET on Friday. The winners, as chosen exclusively by online fan voting totals, will be announced during a Final Vote-themed telecast of "MLB Now" featuring commentary from political analyst Jeff Greenfield, live on MLB Network and MLB.com from 4-5 p.m. ET. MLB Network will provide extensive coverage across all of its studio programming during the Final Vote, including interviews with the candidates, frequent updates, heat maps indicating the cities where votes are being cast for each candidate, news on player and club campaigns and a running countdown clock leading up to the announcement.

Pedroia's two-homer game

Baseball fans have cast nearly 600 million online votes for Final Vote candidates since the program's inception in 2002. In addition to MLB.com and the official club websites, fans can use their mobile devices to cast votes at MLB.com/vote or via text message. To receive the ballot, text the word "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for a specific player, fans can text their choice to 89269. EXAMPLE: Text "A3" to vote for AL Player 3 or "N3" to vote for NL Player 3. Message and data rates may apply. Text "STOP" to end and "HELP" for information. Mobile voting in Canada also is available and fans should text their choices to 101010.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Final Vote will include social balloting, as Twitter support for the 10 candidates over the last six hours of balloting will count toward their vote totals. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET on Friday, any tweet that includes a designated player hashtag will be tabulated as part of the official vote total used to determine the winners.

On Tuesday, July 12, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.