Konerko third, Pierzynski fifth in ASG balloting

Konerko third, Pierzynski fifth in ASG balloting

Konerko third, Pierzynski fifth in ASG balloting
CHICAGO -- There was a time at the end of May when Paul Konerko flirted with the elusive .400 plateau, pushing his average up to .399.

Even down to .366 entering Tuesday's series opener with the Blue Jays, the White Sox team captain still leads all of Major League Baseball with his lofty average. And now Konerko is flirting with the All-Star vote lead for American League first basemen.

The first All-Star voting numbers were released on Tuesday, and Konerko's 671,430 votes leave him third behind the Tigers' Prince Fielder (1,027,070) and the Yankees' Mark Teixeira (697,602) while holding a lead over the Rangers' Mitch Moreland (618,226) and the Angels' Albert Pujols (478,020). But Konerko isn't the only White Sox position player in the running for an All-Star starting nod or deserving of such an honor.

A.J. Pierzynski ranks fifth at catcher in these first results with a total of 424,646. He trails Texas' Mike Napoli (1,224,565), Baltimore's Matt Wieters (713,469), Minnesota's Joe Mauer (637,364) and New York's Russell Martin (431,435).

Konerko, Pierzynski, center fielder Alejandro De Aza and pitchers Jake Peavy and Chris Sale all have earned White Sox All-Star consideration. But according to Konerko, that particular call can't be made on June 5.

"It's too early for that question, that's probably my first answer," Konerko said. "Certainly guys are doing well, but to answer that, you would have to fast forward a few weeks and see where everybody is at then."

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via your mobile device -- using the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, June 28, at 10:59 p.m. CT.

Fans can also once again participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby. The 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 7 p.m. CT on Monday, July 9. 

The 2012 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 1, on the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2012 All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com.

And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy. 

The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday, July 10. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.

To go along with his Major League-leading average, Konerko ranks third in all of baseball with his .445 on-base percentage, third with a 1.062 OPS and fourth with his .617 slugging percentage. Pierzynski leads all catchers with 35 RBIs and is tied for third with nine home runs. His .291 average trails only Mauer (.298) among AL catchers.

Pierzynski has made two previous All-Star appearances, while Konerko has appeared in five and two straight. Neither one has ever been voted in by the fans as an All-Star starter.

"I never really thought about it from a starting standpoint," Konerko said. "The position I play, most times there are guys that are more notable."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.