Yanks leading in AL East, All-Star votes
Teixeira drives past Youkilis; Jeter remains in lead at short
The votes, following Mark Teixeira's other numbers, are beginning to mushroom for the New York Yankees first baseman.First base in the American League is considered the most loaded, most coveted, most competitive of all the starting spots for the 80th All-Star Game, a talent lineup cross-cultural types might compare to the most recent American Idol showcase.
If so, Teixeira is the newest Kris Allen.Jumping off a campaign platform of 15 homers and 41 RBIs in 34 games since the end of April, Teixeira has vaulted Boston's Kevin Youkilis for the lead in fans' voting for the Midsummer Classic. In joining front-running shortstop Derek Jeter, Teixeira makes the Yankees the only team with two leaders, revealing the ongoing vote to be one of the most varied in recent years. The tightest race this year shapes up not for a position, but for overall high-vote honors between Jeter and Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria. Longoria assumed the lead for those bragging rights last week by moving a scant 18,511 ahead of Jeter, and now leads by 48,940. Longoria has received 1,560,358 votes; Jeter, 1,511,418.
One thing that leaps out of the latest update on voting for the 2009 AL starting lineup, released Tuesday afternoon, is the regional ballot balance.For a change, and at least up to this point, the playing field for votes isn't tilting east. Each of the league's three divisions has at least one positional leader, a departure from recent campaign trends. Jason Bay, remaining atop the outfield list with 1,101,649 votes, is Boston's lone leader -- although two other Red Sox, Youkilis and second baseman Dustin Pedroia, are running second. Longoria is the only other representative of an AL East club leading at his position. By comparison, six of the eight 2008 AL starters hailed from East teams. In 2005, it was seven of nine. The AL Central is represented by Twins catcher Joe Mauer, in line for his second consecutive start behind the plate. Second baseman Ian Kinsler and outfielder Josh Hamilton of the Rangers, and Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners, are the West Division flag bearers. Teixeira trailed Youkilis by nearly 94,000 votes in last week's update, but overtook him with a strong week. The Twins' Justin Morneau continues to run a solid third, with Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers and Chris Davis of Texas again rounding out the top five. There was no change at second base, with the Yankees' Robinson Cano, the Blue Jays' Aaron Hill and the Tigers' Placido Polanco following Kinsler and Pedroia. The Bombers' Alex Rodriguez has emerged as Longoria's main challenger at the hot corner. Though still considerably behind with 678,227 votes, A-Rod has replaced Texas' Michael Young as runner-up at the position. The Rangers' Jarrod Saltalamacchia moved 318 votes ahead of Boston's Jason Varitek for second place at catcher. The Indians' Victor Martinez also dropped down a spot, to fifth, as Jorge Posada of the Yankees jumped from No. 5 to No. 4. Jeter is the runaway leader over Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett at short -- a position distinguished by the continuing third-place presence of the Rangers' Elvis Andrus, who has received 584,462 votes. Andrus is the only rookie on the AL leader board, at any of the eight positions. The second tier in the outfield is comprised of Major League steals-leader Carl Crawford of the Rays, the Angels' Torii Hunter and the Mariners' Ken Griffey Jr. The Orioles' Adam Jones, enjoying a breakthrough season with a .346 average complemented by 11 homers and 36 RBIs, sits right behind Griffey. The 23-year-old vaulted from 10th place last week.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.