Polanco overtakes Cano on AL ballot
Second baseman stakes claim to starting All-Star spot
DETROIT -- The Tigers' mainstay at second is now first.
With the latest balloting update released for next month's All-Star Game, Placido Polanco has overtaken the Yankees' Robinson Cano for the top vote-getter among American League second baseman with 572,238. The move puts the Tigers in position to have at least two position players in the All-Star starting lineup for the first time since 1986 -- possibly three, if Magglio Ordonez keeps gaining in the outfield.
Polanco was a close second behind Cano, who now has 520,506 votes, when balloting numbers first came out last month, and his totals have gained on those of Cano ever since. Cano's lead shrunk from 40,743 two weeks ago to 8,214 last week before vanishing.
In terms of on-field statistics, Polanco has been leading AL second basemen for quite some time. His .348 batting average entering Monday topped the position and ranked third among all AL hitters, while his 44 runs scored are also tops at his spot. Defensively, he has the most total chances without an error of any Major League middle infielder this season.
The last time the Tigers had two All-Star position starters, it was also a duo of catcher and second baseman with Lance Parrish and Lou Whitaker. Ivan Rodriguez, with 679,403 votes, is hoping that duo repeats with what would be his third starting nod in four years as a Tiger and his 12th starting assignment overall, but he's in a four-man balloting race among AL catchers.
A week ago, it was Minnesota's Joe Mauer sitting closely behind Rodriguez with a 31,331-vote gap. Now Mauer, Jason Varitek and Jorge Posada are all challenging Rodriguez, whose average continues to hover just shy of .300 while his defensive numbers improve after a rough start.
The most productive Tiger so far this season, and one of the league's early MVP candidates, continues to remain on the outside of the balloting. However, Ordonez continues to close in on the traditional top three among AL outfielders. After a vote surge jumped Ordonez to fifth last week, he has now crept into the fourth with 644,183 votes, just behind Ichiro Suzuki (757,275 votes).
The balloting effort in the Detroit area soon will become an online matter. Balloting at Comerica Park ends with this homestand, which concludes on Thursday afternoon. Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2007 All-Star Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until Thursday, June 28 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Fans will again be given the opportunity to cast an All-Star vote immediately following the 2007 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show Presented by Chevrolet, which will be televised by Turner Sports on Sunday, July 1. Baseball fans around the world will be able select the final player on each All-Star team via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Final Vote.
Concluding the All-Star balloting process, fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote at MLB.com.
The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will have exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.