Tigers counting on fans' votes online
Cabrera currently is fifth among AL first basemen on ballot
DETROIT -- The Tigers' only hope for putting a player into the starting lineup for the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis on July 14, and potentially getting a positional player on the team at all, now rests online with the voters.
With in-person voting now concluded at Comerica Park, the Tigers will have to rely on some last-minute support from fans in cyberspace to make up ground at several key positions. 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 11:59 p.m. ET.
With about two weeks to go, the outlook hasn't changed for Tigers players for a month. Miguel Cabrera, who appears to be heating up at the plate just in time to round up some support, remains fourth among American League first basemen in the latest balloting results released on Tuesday, while Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis battle it out for the starting nod. Minnesota's Justin Morneau ranks third.
Cabrera's recent surge at the plate during Interleague Play vaulted him to third in the AL in hitting entering this week, the highest ranking for a Tigers player in any of the major offensive categories. Not surprisingly, he's also the most popular Tiger at the ballot box.
The only other Tiger in the top five in balloting at his respective position is Placido Polanco, who ranks fifth among AL second basemen. Curtis Granderson, who leads the Tigers in home runs, stolen bases, walks and runs scored, sits at 13th among AL outfielders.
The problem for Cabrera and Granderson is that neither is guaranteed a reserve spot on the roster. Teixeira, Youkilis and Morneau all rank among the top hitters in the league this year, and they all play the same position. Granderson might have a slightly better chance thanks to injuries and inconsistency among the players ahead of him, but the outfield can often be a place for a team to get at least one All-Star representative on the squad.
Moreover, with pitching as the Tigers' strength this year, Detroit could conceivably be represented by multiple hurlers, such as ace Justin Verlander and the well-respected Edwin Jackson.
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.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.