Kemp leads NL vote; Ethier fourth in OF tally
Last year's NL homers leader also named captain for Derby
PHILADELPHIA -- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list, is the leading National League vote-getter in the first round of All-Star Game balloting results released Tuesday by MLB, as well as NL captain of the Home Run Derby.
Whether he'll be able to participate or not, Kemp remains optimistic.
"If I can play, heck yeah," Kemp said. "I just have to be smart and do what's best for the team. But if I'm ready to go, definitely."
Kemp was placed on the disabled list last week with a recurring hamstring strain and is expected to be out a month. He said the Home Run Derby would be "just like batting practice, get ready for the second half."
Kemp spent part of Tuesday at the MLB Fan Cave in New York with American League Home Run Derby captain Robinson Cano, a former teammate from winter ball.
"It's nice to see how far we both have come," said Kemp. "He's on top of his game, and I've done pretty good and we're both captains of the Home Run Derby. That's kind of special."
So is, Kemp said, being the league leader in All-Star votes.
"I didn't know until the press conference and they showed the clip of each player and the votes. Dang, that's a lot of votes," Kemp said. "I'm really shocked and happy the fans are supporting me. I'm surprised and happy at the same time."
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via your mobile device -- using the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, June 28, at 8:59 p.m. PT.
Fans can also once again participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby. The 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 5 p.m. PT on Monday, July 9.
The 2012 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 1, on the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2012 All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Tuesday, July 10. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.
Teammate Andre Ethier is fourth in outfield voting, the only other Dodger to be listed in the top five at any position.
Kemp, who led the NL with 39 home runs last season, returns for his second Derby appearance. The 2011 NL All-Star is just the fifth Dodger to participate in the Derby along with Steve Garvey (1985), Mike Piazza (1993-94), Raul Mondesi (1995) and Hee-Seop Choi (2005).
Among NL players this season, the outfielder is currently tied for sixth with 12 home runs, raising his career total to 140 in seven Major League seasons.
Kemp and Cano will select and invite the other three participants on their teams, as well as a charity for which to play.
Kemp has nearly two million votes, more than 600,000 votes ahead of Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto, the next highest vote-getter.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.