Hunter moving up All-Star leaderboard
Angels outfielder needs help to secure starting spot
Angels center fielder Torii Hunter has gained some ground in the All-Star Game balloting, advancing to sixth among American League outfielders (422,220), but he needs more support from his fans to claim a starting spot in the Midsummer Classic on July 14 in St. Louis.
Boston's Jason Bay, Josh Hamilton of Texas and Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki are the frontrunners for the starting roles in the AL outfield, according to voting results released by Major League Baseball on Tuesday.
"I don't know where we'd be without Torii," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his eight-time Gold Glove winner. Hunter has been the club's most productive offensive force while saving games with his exceptional defense. Patrolling the Angels' outfield with Hunter is Bobby Abreu, who has moved into 15th among AL outfielders (265,211).
No other Angels player on the ballot is in contention for a starting role. Joining Hunter and Abreu on the ballot are first baseman Kendry Morales, second baseman Howard Kendrick, shortstop Erick Aybar, third baseman Chone Figgins, outfielder Vladimir Guerrero and catcher Mike Napoli.
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 8:59 p.m. PT.
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 Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com.
The All-Star Game 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.
Like Hunter, Figgins is enjoying a high-caliber season offensively and defensively.
"Chone has been as good as any leadoff hitter in the league," Scioscia said.
Guerrero, an eight-time All-Star, has started slowly this season, mending a torn pectoral muscle.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.