Hill, Scutaro, Rolen in need of ASG votes
Trio of Jays relying on fans to help them surge ahead
When it comes to All-Star balloting, Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill might be at a disadvantage. While there's a realistic chance Hill will wind up on the American League's elite squad, garnering enough votes to be named the starter over his competition is not an easy task.
"I'm just trying to keep up with the pack," Hill joked earlier this season.
In the third unveiling of All-Star voting, Hill still ranks fourth at his position with 536,612 votes. Leading the way is Texas' Ian Kinsler with 1,173,494 votes, followed by Boston second baseman and reigning AL Most Valuable Player Dustin Pedroia -- New York's Robinson Cano ranks third. Behind Hill, in fifth, is Tigers standout Placido Polanco.
It's a deep pool of second sackers, and that's only in the American League.
"It's going to be a tough call," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said recently, acknowledging that there is a deep field of top-tier second basemen. "Who's going to make that All-Star team? I hope it's going to be my guy right here. If he keeps swinging like he's swinging, he certainly has a chance."
Hill has been the driving force behind the Blue Jays' resurgent offense this season. He leads Toronto in multiple offensive categories, and he has been one of the top-hitting second basemen in the game all season long. How good has Hill been? When he was recently mired in a career-worst 0-for-25 slump, Hill was still leading the Majors in hits.
Beyond Hill, Blue Jays shortstop Marco Scutaro -- one of the game's best at getting on base this season -- is fourth in balloting at his position with 471,298 votes, trailing New York's Derek Jeter, Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett and Texas' Elvin Andrus. Toronto third baseman Scott Rolen ranks fifth with 369,517 votes, placing him behind Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria -- who leads the pack with 1,560,358 votes -- New York's Alex Rodriguez, Texas' Michael Young and Boston's Mike Lowell.
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. At Rogers Centre in Toronto, Blue Jays fans can continue to cast ballots at the ballpark until June 23.
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.
Pedroia was a teammate of Hill's when they both played for Team USA as college infielders in 2002. Back then, Pedroia could tell Hill was on a path to become a solid Major League player.
"He was just one of those guys that you knew he was going to be a star," Pedroia said recently. "I think everyone in baseball is looking and seeing what he's doing this year, and hopefully he keeps it going, because it's awesome."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.