Ichiro holds last outfield starting spot

Ichiro holds last outfield starting spot

The Mariners' offensive surge the past five weeks has given manager Mike Hargrove three .300-plus hitters to put in his lineup every day, but it appears that only one of them -- center fielder Ichiro Suzuki -- has the fan support needed to earn a spot in the starting lineup at the All-Star Game on July 10 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

As the fan-voting process moved past the halfway mark, Ichiro remains in third place among American League outfielders as he pursues what would be the sixth time in his seven-year Major League career that fans deemed him worthy of starting status in the Midsummer Classic.

It would be an honor well deserved, as the hit machine continues his pursuit of a seventh straight 200-hit season.

After 65 games this season, he led the Major Leagues in hits with 96 and was slightly ahead of the pace he was on in 2004, when he broke George Sisler's 84-year-old record for most hits in a season -- 257. Ichiro finished with 262 and had 94 hits after 65 games.

According to the weekly voting update announced by Major League Baseball on Tuesday, Ichiro still trails Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels and Manny Ramirez of the Red Sox.

Among Ichiro's teammates, Adrian Beltre is the only one showing up on the voting radar screen. After being fifth for two straight weeks, Beltre moved up to fourth among third basemen.

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 28 at 8:59 p.m. PT.

Fans again will 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 to select the final player on each All-Star team via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Final Vote.

All-Star Game Coverage

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.

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