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Many ASG races tight in final hours of balloting

Many ASG races tight in final hours of balloting

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Many ASG races tight in final hours of balloting
The 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint launched in late April, and now only hours remain until Thursday's 11:59 p.m. ET finish.

Here's your final update with 12 hours to go:

NL shortstop: Jose Reyes of the Mets picked up 125 percent more online votes than Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki over the past day of voting. Tulowitzki was ahead by a little more than 200,000 votes on Monday, the last day online vote numbers were released. Hashtags: #VoteReyes or #VoteTulo

AL outfield: Here comes Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox. He's had 21 percent more online votes than Josh Hamilton of the Rangers in the last 24 hours, keeping a steady gain this week. Hamilton's lead was 121,325 on Tuesday, and that was down from 351,624 two weeks earlier. #VoteJosh or #VoteJacoby

NL first base: Prince Fielder of the Brewers has garnered 102 percent more votes than Albert Pujols of the Cardinals over the last 24 hours of online voting. Cincinnati's Joey Votto gained 36 percent more than Pujols in that time. The big issue here is who starts instead of Pujols, who is out with injury and unavailable for the 82nd All-Star Game on July 12 in Phoenix. If he remains in the lead when all votes are tallied, then his replacement would be whichever player other than him finishes highest on the Player Ballot. #VotePujols, #VotePrince or #VoteVotto

AL catcher: Alex Avila of the Tigers continues his late rally, outpacing Russell Martin by 88 percent in online voting over the last day. Martin, who hit a big three-run homer Wednesday against Milwaukee, was leading Avila by a little more than 400,000 votes as of Tuesday. #VoteMartin or #VoteAvila

NL outfield: Matt Kemp of the Dodgers continues to out-trend Matt Holliday of the Cardinals, and the question is whether there is enough time. Kemp has had 52 percent more online votes than Holliday in the past 24 hours. They are bidding to join leaders Ryan Braun of the Brewers and Lance Berkman of the Cardinals in the starting outfield. Holliday had 2,935,965 votes to Kemp's 2,743,927 on Monday. #VoteHolliday or #VoteKemp

NL second base: Tossup. Brandon Phillips of the Reds has garnered 44 percent more votes on MLB.com than Rickie Weeks of the Brewers in the past 24 hours. Weeks had passed Phillips in Monday's update but led by fewer than 80,000 votes at that time. #VoteWeeks or #VoteDatDudeBP

Entering the final week of online-only voting, fans at MLB.com and the 30 club sites had cast 18.5 million ballots and 250 million votes, surpassing the all-time online record for each from 2009 (17.7 million; 223.4 million).

The AL and NL rosters will be unveiled at noon ET Sunday on the 2011 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Pitchers and reserves for both squads -- totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL -- will be determined through a combination of Player Ballot choices and selections made by All-Star managers Bruce Bochy of the Giants (NL) and Ron Washington of the Rangers (AL), in conjunction with MLB.

When that show ends, the electricity continues, as fans then will be able to select the final player on each team at MLB.com via the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint.

The final phase of All-Star Game voting will have fans again participate in the official voting for the All-Star Game Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint. Brian McCann of the Braves won the award in 2010 as the NL recorded its first victory in the Midsummer Classic since 1996.

More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots were distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which had 23 home dates for balloting. Ballots also were distributed in about 100 Minor League ballparks. In addition, Scotts was the official sponsor of the 2011 Retail All-Star Balloting Program, which began on May 10 exclusively at more than 1,700 Lowe's stores across the country. All of those ballots were thrown into the big heap, as fans are going strictly with the digital vote from here to the finish.

"It's for the fans to be able to express how they feel about the players and vote for their favorites," said D-backs outfielder Justin Upton, who is serving as active-player ambassador for this year's All-Star festivities. "It's always fun with the All-Star stuff and the hoopla that comes with it, and hopefully the fans have fun with it."

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

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. You also can leave comments on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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