Papi leading at designated hitter in All-Star voting

Pedroia, Napoli making strong push to join slugger at Midsummer Classic

Papi leading at designated hitter in All-Star voting

BOSTON -- Even the late stages of his career, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz continues to pound the baseball. Though he is 37 years old, few hitters in the game are feared more than Big Papi.

And when the first round of American League All-Star balloting was released on Monday, it was clear that Ortiz is still very much a fan favorite.

The slugger holds the lead at designated hitter with 1,045,283 votes.

Though he started his season a couple of weeks late due to the right Achilles problem that sidelined him at the end of 2012, Ortiz has quickly made up for lost time.

In 39 games, Ortiz is hitting .333 with 10 homers, 36 RBIs and a 1.023 OPS.

Ortiz's ability to adapt in his late 30s and still produce at such a high level has been impressive. Manager John Farrell started to see the transformation the last couple of years when he was game-planning against Ortiz for the Toronto Blue Jays.

"Across the field, you saw him with more of a willingness to use the wall and to stay inside of pitches that he's used to hit the ball the bigger part of the field," Farrell said. "I think it's allowed him to see the ball better and track the ball longer and maybe, in my own description, say he's not afraid to get jammed. He's not afraid to let the ball get deep, and he's so strong, he can fight base hits off the other way."

Ortiz has been selected to the All-Star team in eight of the last nine seasons.

Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via your mobile device -- using the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, July 4, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Fans may submit 25 online ballots during the voting period, but can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, visit www.mlb.com and register in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.

Fans can also once again participate in the 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 Home Run Derby. The 2013 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 8 p.m. on Monday, July 15.

The 2013 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 7, on the 2013 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 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com 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 2013 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 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 84th 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 SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Last year, Ortiz was Boston's only representative at the All-Star Game.

However, this year, some other players are making a strong push, none more than Dustin Pedroia.

The second baseman has been unstoppable at the plate in recent weeks while also making a highlight-reel play in the field in just about every game.

With 642,419 votes, Pedroia ranks third at his position, behind Robinson Cano (1,235,230) and Ian Kinsler (656,827). Pedroia is trying to become an All-Star for the first time since 2010, and the fourth time overall.

Mike Napoli, who has switched positions from catcher to first base this season, is currently third with 380,448 votes, but is well behind leaders Chris Davis (1,176,016) and Prince Fielder (1,059,300). Napoli has been one of the top run producers in the AL this season, his first with the Red Sox.

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia ranks fifth at his position with 331,444 votes, trailing Joe Mauer, Matt Wieters, Carlos Santana and A.J. Pierzynski.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who has caught fire of late, is ninth in the outfield with 473,877 votes. Teammate Shane Victorino is 14th with 341,733 votes. Torii Hunter is currently in control of the third and final outfield berth with 761,937 votes.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.