Furcal, Molina in tight All-Star voting races
Shortstop, catcher rank second; Beltran in position to start
ST. LOUIS -- All-Star hopefuls Rafael Furcal and Yadier Molina are currently locked in tight battles at their respective positions, both trailing top vote-getters by fewer than 150,000 votes for the honor of starting the All-Star Game in Kansas City on July 10.
Major League Baseball released updated vote totals for the National League on Tuesday, and these new results show several Cardinals in the running for starting spots in the upcoming Midsummer Classic.
Molina, last week's leading NL vote-getter at catcher, now trails San Francisco's Buster Posey by just over 137,000 votes. Based solely on statistics, it's impossible to deny that Molina deserves strong consideration for his fourth All-Star nod. Widely considered the game's best defensive catcher, Molina entered play Tuesday leading all NL catchers in extra-base hits and ranked second at his position with a .330 batting average.
At shortstop, the race is even tighter, with Furcal only 17,160 votes behind Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki. Like Molina, Furcal ranks second in the league in batting average among shortstops, while his 41 runs scored are a league high. Furcal has made two previous All-Star appearances, most recently in 2010.
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 10:59 p.m. CT.
While Furcal and Molina find themselves needing to make up ground, Carlos Beltran has garnered the third-most votes of any NL player on the ballot, positioning himself to be named one of three starting outfielders in Kansas City, where he began his career. With nearly 1.8 million votes, Beltran is the second-highest NL outfield vote-getter after the latest tabulation. Matt Kemp sits ahead of him with close to 2.6 million votes.
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 7 p.m. CT 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.
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday, July 10. Go 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.
Other Cardinals remain in the running to be voted into the All-Star Game as well. David Freese ranks third among third baseman with nearly 1.1 million votes. The leading player at the position currently is New York's David Wright, with Pablo Sandoval of the Giants in second.
Matt Holliday is in sixth place among NL outfielders, but will have to make up substantial ground to crack the top three. Lance Berkman, who would not be able to participate in the All-Star Game because of a right knee injury, has received the second-most votes for an NL first baseman, though Cincinnati's Joey Votto is running away with that race.
While online voting will continue through June 28, in-stadium voting at Busch Stadium ends on Friday.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.