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Blum putting up All-Star numbers

Blum putting up All-Star numbers

HOUSTON -- Geoff Blum had no idea he would be on this year's All-Star ballot as one of the 16 National League third basemen. When told, he sounded genuinely thrilled.

"That is pretty cool," Blum said. "It means a lot. I don't know if my career's winding down or what, but it's one of those things you can take away from the season. That's pretty cool."

As a utility man who has often platooned at third base through his career, Blum isn't up for All-Star consideration that often. In fact, the last time he was listed on the ballot was 2003, when he shared time at third base with Morgan Ensberg.

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While Blum may not be the first name that comes to mind in terms of elite third basemen, he is quietly putting together a season that merits consideration when voting for the National League All-Star team this year.

It's only April, but All-Star voting is right around the corner. Online voting, the most popular method of selecting All-Stars, is underway, while in-stadium balloting at Minute Maid Park begins May 6 and runs through June 26.

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 10:59 p.m. CT.

Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com.

And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the 80th Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com.

The July 14 All-Star Game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.

Blum, who has received the majority of the starts at third base as the left-handed-platoon option, was one of very few Astros hitters who did not struggle right out of the gate. The sure-handed defender has settled in as the No. 6 hitter, behind a consistent Hunter Pence, who has also put up good numbers to start the 2009 season.

This could be a special year for Blum if he continues to produce numbers similar to the first three weeks of the season. He has a World Series ring, but he's never played in an All-Star Game.

"I always felt there should be a 'utility All-Star,' especially considering the way past All-Star Games have gone, with the rotations and some of these weird situations," he said. "I'm stoked."

Other Astros who appear on the ballot are first baseman Lance Berkman, second baseman Kazuo Matsui, shortstop Miguel Tejada, left fielder Carlos Lee, center fielder Michael Bourn and right fielder Pence.

Pence has hit just about everywhere in the lineup this year, but he's settled in to the five-hole, a spot where the club envisioned he'd be eventually. Now in his third year, Pence is off to one of his better starts while continuing to become more comfortable as a middle-of-the-order hitter.

Miguel Tejada is another hitter off to a hot start, and if selected, this year's All-Star Game would be the sixth of his career. He was selected by the players last year, and he was voted in in 2002, '04, '05 and '06.

When informed he can vote up to 25 times online, Blum was already planning to recruit friends to join in on the fun.

"Believe it," he said. "Or, I'll just sign up for 90 different email accounts."

Alyson Footer 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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