06/06/05 2:00 PM ET
Jays still need All-Star ballot support
Fans could turn the tide for Hillenbrand
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
There may be an update on the All-Star balloting results, but not much has changed for Toronto. The Blue Jays still don't have any players in the top five in the infield positions, or among the top 15 in the outfield, but they do have a few players who have performed on an All-Star level during the season's first nine weeks.
Toronto ace Roy Halladay is the most obvious, and he's likely a lock for the All-Star Game. The team's respective managers shape the pitching staffs, so the Jays may need some help from the fans to wind up with more than one All-Star.
The man with the best case is Shea Hillenbrand, Toronto's designated hitter. Hillenbrand's been an All-Star once before, and he's making another bid with a .312 average and 68 hits in his first 56 games. He's listed on the ballot as a DH, but he's served some time at both infield corners for Toronto.
Orlando Hudson's another one of the team's All-Star hopes, but it's not because of his offense. Hudson's hitting just .257, but he has 23 runs scored and 24 RBIs. He's known more for his defense, though, and he's quickly becoming a favorite for the Gold Glove at second base. Will that be enough to grant him All-Star status?
After those two, things drop a bit. Vernon Wells is starting to bring his offense around, but it probably won't be enough to snare an All-Star berth. Corey Koskie, one of the best active players that has never been an All-Star, will miss the Midsummer Classic again. Koskie is currently on the disabled list and could miss another month of action.
Outfielder Alex Rios has stepped up his game in recent weeks, but he's playing at one of the AL's deepest positions. Gregg Zaun has been effective, but he won't have the numbers for an All-Star slot. Ditto for Eric Hinske, Toronto's first baseman. He's hit .272 with 17 extra-base hits, but he has to contend with players like Mark Teixeira and Tino Martinez.
Voting for this year's contest, which will be played in Detroit on July 12, is ongoing at both bluejays.com and MLB.com.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.