CHICAGO -- As surprised as Esteban Loaiza was by his selection to the American League All-Star team, the right-handed hurler was even more stunned that he was going alone from the White Sox.
No Mark Buehrle. No Shingo Takatsu. Even more shocking was that no offensive players from the second-highest scoring team in baseball were voted in or chosen by American League manager Joe Torre.
"I'm really shocked by that," said Loaiza. "With the way they have been hitting the ball and moving runners over and in, they are doing a great job.
"That's why we are in [contention] right now in the division. There should have been more people going to the All-Star Game from this clubhouse."
There still is a chance for one more White Sox player to be traveling to Houston through the 2004 Ameriquest Final Vote. As of Tuesday, Frank Thomas sits second behind New York's Hideki Matsui in the on-line balloting, with Paul Konerko in a virtual dead heat with Thomas.
Now in its third year, the Ameriquest 2004 All-Star Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final position
player on each All-Star team. Balloting for the five finalists in each league began immediately following Sunday night's Major League All-Star Selection Show and continues until 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The winners will be announced at 9 p.m. ET exclusively on MLB.com and will then be added to the AL and NL All-Star Game rosters.
The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and 32nd man, will have yet another opportunity to make themselves heard with the return of the Ameriquest All-Star Game MVP Vote. Beginning in the sixth inning of the All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 13, fans may cast their vote for the player they believe deserves to win the Ted Williams Award for being the game's Most Valuable Player. The fan vote counts for 20 percent of the decision, with the media accounting for the other 80 percent.
Konerko, not listed on the All-Star ballot at first base, carried a .280 average into Tuesday's game against the Angels. He led the team with 20 home runs and 54 RBIs.
Paul Konerko / 1B
Weight: 215 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Thomas was hitting .274 after striking out three times this past weekend while limited to pinch-hitting duty at Wrigley Field. The team's designated hitter entered Tuesday with 18 home runs and 49 RBIs, but also was leading the AL in walks (63) and tied with Boston's Manny Ramirez for the top spot in on-base percentage (.436). He ranked fifth in slugging percentage at .570.
Both Thomas and Konerko have comparable numbers to Matsui. The trio leads Minnesota's Lew Ford and Cleveland's Travis Hafner, who also are on the Final Vote ballot.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.