Konerko closing gap in All-Star balloting

Konerko closing gap in All-Star balloting

Konerko closing gap in All-Star balloting
CHICAGO -- The unexpectedly good White Sox start to the 2012 season clearly has not gone unnoticed.

Paul Konerko, who would be a prime American League Most Valuable Player candidate through 60 games, is closing fast on Detroit's Prince Fielder for the starting first-base nod on the American League All-Star team according to the latest round of 2012 votes released Monday. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski and designated hitter Adam Dunn, who also are having outstanding starts to the present campaign, continue to make strong showings at their respective positions for the AL Central leaders.

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 Kansas City's 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.

Konerko, who still leads the Majors with his .365 average, has garnered 1,147,089 votes to place him second behind Prince Fielder's total of 1,421,786. In last week's voting, Konerko stood third at first base and trailed Fielder by approximately 450,000.

Pierzynski, the leader among all big league catchers with 38 RBIs and third with 10 homers, moved from fifth to fourth with his 733,282 votes. Texas' Mike Napoli holds a commanding lead at the position with 1,640,160 votes. And Dunn, who was not in the Top 5 vote-getters last week, checked in at No. 4 this week with 645,213. David Ortiz leads all designated hitters with 1,758,369 votes.

Dunn already has said that he doesn't plan on taking part in the All-Star Home Run Derby if asked. But his 20 homers, 46 RBIs and .369 on-base percentage certainly have garnered him All-Star consideration.

Frank Thomas was the last White Sox All-Star position player starter in 1997, although Carl Everett started in 2003 after coming to the White Sox from Texas at the end of June. Mark Buehrle (2005) and Esteban Loaiza (2003) were chosen as All-Star starting pitchers, an honor that could go to Chris Sale this season.

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.