Bautista jumps to third place in closely contested A.L. outfield race

Two-time American League All-Star Jose Bautista has jumped to third place among outfielders in the latest A.L. balloting figures for the 83rd All-Star Game, to be played on Tuesday, July 10th at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.  The third balloting update for the National League will be announced tomorrow afternoon.

Bautista, who set a single-season balloting record last year with 7,454,753 votes, has received 1,996,940 votes this season to rank third among A.L. outfielders.  The 31-year-old native of the Dominican Republic could become the first Blue Jays outfielder to earn back-to-back fan-elected starting nods in the Midsummer Classic since Joe Carter in 1993-94.  He is joined in the outfield by four-time All-Star Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, whose 5,414,880 votes have put him on pace to break Bautista's single-season balloting mark.  The 2010 A.L. MVP, who leads the Majors with 62 RBI, is aiming to become the first outfielder to start five consecutive All-Star Games since Ichiro Suzuki (2006-10).  New York Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson rounds out the A.L. outfield with 2,818,535 total votes.  The two-time All-Star, who was a fan-elected starter in 2011, is trying to become the first Yankees outfielder to make back-to-back fan-elected starts since Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield in 1987-88.  Hamilton (22), Granderson (21) and Bautista (19) rank second, third and fourth, respectively, in the A.L. in home runs.  Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles is a close fourth, having received 1,959,207 votes, followed by Rangers teammates Nelson Cruz (1,944,487) and David Murphy (1,229,190).

Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler, who is tied for first in the Majors with 51 runs scored, has tallied 2,580,306 votes in a bid for his first Midsummer Classic start.  The two-time All-Star, who leads all Major League second basemen with 22 doubles, would join Julio Franco (1989) and Alfonso Soriano (2004) as the only Rangers second basemen to earn a start in the All-Star Game.  The 29-year-old leads three-time All-Star Robinson Cano of the Yankees by just over 15,000 total votes in the A.L.'s closest race.  Cano, who has tallied 2,565,046 votes, has started each of the previous two Midsummer Classics.  Kinsler's teammate and two-time All-Star Adrian Beltre (2,251,304), who is attempting to become the first Rangers third baseman ever to start in an All-Star Game, continues to lead Miguel Cabrera (1,869,727) of the Detroit Tigers.  Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has received the second-highest number of votes in the A.L. with 3,359,875.  The 12-time All-Star, who is trailed by Elvis Andrus (2,008,678) of the Rangers, could become the fifth A.L. infielder ever to earn at least seven consecutive fan-elected starts at one position.  The others include his one-time teammate Wade Boggs (3B, 10 straight, 1987-96); George Brett (3B, 11 straight, 1976-86); Rod Carew (1B, nine straight, 1976-84); and Cal Ripken, Jr. (SS, eight straight, 1989-96).  Tigers first baseman and three-time All-Star Prince Fielder (1,946,045) holds a narrow lead over five-time A.L. All-Star Paul Konerko (1,680,793) of the Chicago White Sox to round out the A.L. infield.

Rangers catcher Mike Napoli has totaled 2,239,047 votes and continues to lead four-time All-Star and 2009 A.L. MVP Joe Mauer (1,283,804) of the Minnesota Twins.  Napoli, who is tied for second among Major League catchers with 11 home runs, is trying to become an All-Star for the first time in his career.  Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz (2,390,132), aiming for his eighth All-Star selection, leads seven-time A.L. All-Star Michael Young (1,892,150) of the Rangers at designated hitter.  Ortiz, who hit his 16th home run of the season on Sunday, is the only player in the Majors with 15 home runs in all 12 seasons since 2001.

MLB's All-Star Balloting Program is the largest of its kind in professional sports, and last year produced a record-shattering total of 32.5 million ballots cast.  More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 Major League ballparks, each of which will have 23 dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 Minor League ballparks.  Also, fans around the world can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 Club web sites - online or via their mobile devices - with the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot.  During the voting period, the All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot will be available in English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and Chinese versions of the online ballot and will offer audio CAPTCHA functionality for visually-impaired fans.

Every Major Club began its in-stadium balloting no later than Tuesday, May 8th.  When the in-stadium phase of balloting concludes on Friday, June 22nd, fans will have the opportunity to cast their ballots exclusively online at MLB.com, the 30 Club Web sites and their mobile devices until Thursday, June 28th at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).
Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2012 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program.  The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be rewarded with a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week, including airfare, hotel accommodations, tickets to the All-Star Game and other All-Star Week events.  

Scotts, the official lawn care company of MLB, is once again the sponsor of the retail All-Star Balloting Program, which launched on May 4th in select Lowe's stores and Chevrolet dealerships across the country.  The Scotts ballot includes an opportunity to enter for a chance to win a baseball field makeover using Scotts products for your community.  

Banco BHD sponsors All-Star Balloting in the Dominican Republic, making Spanish-language ballots available to fans in the Dominican Republic via LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language Web site of Major League Baseball, and at All-Star Balloting terminals across more than 80 branches.  Coors Light provides offline All-Star Balloting in 60 Wal-Mart and Amigo convenience stores throughout Puerto Rico, through June 10th.
The 2012 American League and National League All-Star Teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 1st on the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell, televised nationally on TBS.  The A.L. All-Star Team will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the N.L. All-Star Team will have eight fan-elected starters.  The pitchers and reserves for both squads - totaling 25 for the N.L. and 24 for the A.L. - will be determined through a combination of "Player Ballot" choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers - A.L. skipper Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers and N.L. manager Ton La Russa - in conjunction with Major League Baseball.

Immediately following the announcement of the American League and National League All-Star rosters on Sunday, July 1st, fans will begin voting to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote presented by Firestone.  Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each League over a four-day period and the winners will be announced after the voting concludes on Thursday, July 5th.  Now in its eighth year, fans again will be able to make their Final Vote selections on their mobile phones.

The final phase of All-Star Game voting again will 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 MLB.com All-Star Game MVP Vote, and their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year's recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.  

The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday, July 10th.  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.  Pregame ceremonies will begin at 7:30 p.m. (EDT)/6:30 p.m. (CDT).  ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game.  MLB Network, MLB.com and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.  For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.