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Rowand up for All-Star nod in Final Vote

Rowand seeks All-Star nod via Final Vote

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Aaron Rowand campaign continues.

Rowand, who along with catcher Bengie Molina was the focus of a San Francisco Giants promotion urging fans to elect them to the All-Star team, was among five "Final Vote" candidates named Sunday who still have a chance to make the National League squad.

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Rowand's fellow candidates on the Final Vote short list are Philadelphia's Pat Burrell, Milwaukee's Corey Hart, Houston's Carlos Lee and the New York Mets' David Wright.

While Giants pitchers Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson earned spots on the National League roster, Molina did not gain a spot on the team or alongside Rowand on the Final Vote ballot.

Now in its seventh year, the Monster 2008 All-Star Game 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 Chevy and continues until 2 p.m. PT on Thursday, July 10. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.

There are two ways for fans to vote for the 2008 All-Star Game 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. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 88555. Standard rate text messaging rates apply -- please check with your mobile carrier for details.

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 2008 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.

The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 5 p.m. PT. 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.

Rowand knows a little something about the Final Vote phenomenon. Playing for the Chicago White Sox in 2005, he saw teammate Scott Podsednik earn selection to the American League All-Star squad through the fans' extra balloting.

"It's neat to see how they brought this in and to watch [the voting] over the next couple of days," Rowand said.

Naturally, Rowand would love to follow Podsednik's path. An NL All-Star as a member of the Phillies in 2007, Rowand appreciates the Midsummer Classic's pageantry and significance.

"I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't want to play in the All-Star Game. It's an honor," Rowand said.

Rowand, 30, has been surging lately. He recorded three consecutive multi-hit games entering Sunday, hitting .636 (7-for-11) with three RBIs in that span to lift his overall average to .303 -- topping all of his Final Vote competitors.

Rowand possesses other solid statistics, including 26 doubles, 47 RBIs and a .367 on-base percentage. Renowned as a gritty performer, he's widely credited with having helped keep the Giants afloat in the NL West race. The Giants trailed first-place Arizona by four games entering Sunday.

Rowand has played at an All-Star level despite fracturing a rib during the season's third game -- an injury he was initially reluctant to acknowledge. Obviously, it did not knock him out of the lineup.

"I've had runs where I felt really good at the plate and runs where I haven't felt good," Rowand said recently. "I obviously feel I can be better than what I've done. I'll try to get that out of myself in the second half. I feel like I'm definitely going to be a lot better defensively the second half after going through the broken rib thing. I was pretty handicapped for a month and a half -- not being able to dive, not running very well. The last four weeks I've started feeling better as far as moving around and covering more ground than I was earlier."

Chris Haft 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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