Pujols tops early All-Star voting at first

Pujols tops early All-Star voting at first

Albert Pujols' relatively slow start hasn't hindered his pursuit of another All-Star berth, while Yadier Molina's hot hitting hasn't catapulted him into a spot just yet.

Both men are contenders for All-Star selections, according to the first round of ballot results announced on Tuesday.

Pujols, whose batting average peeked above .300 for the first time on Sunday, leads National League first basemen in early voting results with 399,706. He's being chased by Prince Fielder (291,911), Derrek Lee (224,165), Nomar Garciaparra (222,107) and Carlos Delgado (218,647). The slugger is a five-time All-Star, having been selected in all but one of his big league seasons.

Molina, meanwhile, has never been an All-Star. But he's hitting like never before, all while playing his usual Gold Glove-caliber defense. He ranks fifth among catchers (196,424), so he'll need some help if he's going to be voted in as a starter. Paul Lo Duca (339,527) leads, with Brian McCann (288,491), Johnny Estrada (255,884) and Russell Martin (198,914) also ahead of Molina.

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2007 All-Star Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 Club sites until Thursday, June 28th at 10:59 p.m. CT.

Fans will again be given the opportunity to cast an All-Star vote immediately following the 2007 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show Presented by Chevrolet, which will be televised by Turner Sports on Sunday, July 1. Baseball fans around the world will be able select the final player on each All-Star team via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Final Vote.

Selecting the rosters isn't the end of the fun in 2007, either. Concluding the All-Star balloting process, fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote at MLB.com.

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

Also in the running from the Cardinals are former All-Stars David Eckstein, Jim Edmonds, and Scott Rolen.

All-Star Game Coverage

Eckstein, who got off to a slow start to the season, has come on strong and obviously remains a fan favorite. He's been to the All-Star Game in each of his two seasons as a Cardinal. At this point, he ranks fourth among National League shortstops with 185,377. With tough competition that includes Jose Reyes (first with 439,792 votes)and J.J. Hardy (second, 284,621), it's looking like an uphill battle for Eckstein.

Rolen (204,939) has been selected to the team in each of the past five seasons, but his slow offensive start has rendered him a fifth-place runner in this year's balloting. Like short, third is a stacked position, with David Wright (409,338), Chipper Jones (301,393), Miguel Cabrera (297,372) and Aramis Ramirez (204,939) all ahead of Rolen.

A four-time All-Star selection, Edmonds (182,831) ranks 11th among NL outfielders. Carlos Beltran (586,815), Barry Bonds (384,707) and Alfonso Soriano (382,619) are the leaders. Edmonds, like Eckstein, has shown some signs of putting things together after a deep slump early this year.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.