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Guillen needs Final Vote push from fans

Guillen needs Final Vote push from fans

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KANSAS CITY -- Royals outfielder Jose Guillen still has a chance to make the American League squad for the All-Star Game.

Guillen was one of five AL players named to the Final Vote ballot to pick the last player on the team. The other nominees are: Jermaine Dye, White Sox; Jason Giambi, Yankees; Evan Longoria, Rays; and Brian Roberts, Orioles.

He was told of his nomination after the Royals' game against the Rays on Sunday.

"It's good," Guillen said. "It's up to the fans now. If it happens, it's good. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen."

When asked about the stiff competition he faces for the honor, Guillen just smiled and nodded.

Always low-key about his All-Star chances, Guillen has been playing like an All-Star since shrugging off his sluggish start this season.

Guillen surged dramatically and, as of Sunday, was third in the AL in RBIs, with 64, and tied for second in doubles, with 28. He was tied for fifth in extra-base hits.

From May 7 through Saturday, Guillen batted .333 (74-for-222) to raise his average from .165 to .274. He was named Kansas City's Player of the Month in June when he hit .345 with seven homers, 25 RBIs and 17 runs scored.

Seven of his 13 home runs have given the Royals the lead.

Although Guillen is in his 12th Major League season, he has never been an All-Star.

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 5 p.m. ET 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 their phones. To vote for a specific player, they can simply reply with their 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 7 p.m. CT. 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.

If elected, Guillen would become the Royals' second player on the AL squad. Pitcher Joakim Soria was named to the team on Sunday.

The Royals have not had two players on the All-Star team since 2003, when first baseman Mike Sweeney and pitcher Mike MacDougal were selected. Sweeney was injured and neither played in the game.

The Royals selected since then were first baseman Ken Harvey, 2004; Sweeney, 2005; pitcher Mark Redman, 2006; and pitcher Gil Meche, 2007. Sweeney, in 2005, was the last Royals player to appear in an All-Star Game.

Dick Kaegel 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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