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Bonderman slips to second in fan vote

Bonderman slips to second in fan vote

DETROIT -- The Tigers have some work to do if they want to get Jeremy Bonderman to the All-Star Game.

What had been an early lead for the power-throwing right-hander in the American League Final Vote turned into a narrow deficit on Tuesday as Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima moved into the lead. Bonderman was a close second, followed by Twins reliever Pat Neshek, Angels starter Kelvim Escobar and former Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay. Nearly 9 million votes had been cast as of Tuesday afternoon.

It wouldn't be the first comeback the Tigers have mounted in Bonderman's favor, but it's going to take some popular effort. While Okajima has Red Sox Nation and a real nation, Japan, in support of his cause, and Neshek has an online community from his Web site, Bonderman has the legion of Tigers fans.

Bonderman's wife, he said, is trying to add her support with more than a few clicks of the mouse.

"She's got carpal tunnel," Bonderman joked.

After an off-day Monday, the Tigers are trying to get their fans to do the same. They took out a newspaper ad, handed out promotional posters at Comerica Park and were working on setting up computer kiosks for fans to vote.

Teammate Jason Grilli, meanwhile, did his part. Before the Tigers took the field for batting practice on Tuesday afternoon, Grilli put athletic tape on his BP jersey to spell out "Vote Bondo."

It's an effort to bring attention to someone who doesn't try to attract it. Bonderman is generally a quiet star who's more comfortable talking about the team's performance than his own stats. Yet in many ways, he's a player with whom Detroiters have come to identify.

So while teammates and family members go to the polls for Bonderman, he's taking a pretty low-key approach.

"I'm not going to do anything crazy," he said. "I'm not going to push myself. Hopefully with the way I play and the friends I have throughout baseball and back home, I'll get in. I'd definitely like to go, but I'm not going to pout about it.

"Either way, it's not going to affect me. I think all those guys are deserving that are on that list. Whoever goes deserves it."

Now in its sixth year, the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Chevrolet, and continues until 6 p.m. ET on Thursday. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.

All-Star Game Coverage

There are two ways for fans to vote for the 2007 All-Star Final Vote -- online now at MLB.com, or on-the-go from their cell phones. Fans also can text the word "VOTE" to 36197 to have the All-Star Final Vote candidates sent to your phone. To vote for a specific player, simply reply with your choice. Whether celebrating the Fourth of July or Canada Day, fans will have the freedom to vote from wherever they are. Standard rate text messaging fees apply -- please check with your mobile carrier for details. Fans can get the mobile ballot now. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 88555.

The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the Monster 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com.

The 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which will be held July 10 at San Francisco's AT&T Park, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.

Jason Beck 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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