Votebook: Hot stuff at the hot corner
A-Rod, Rolen holding big leads over other worthy candidates
Alex Rodriguez may have wrapped up a 2005 All-Star appearance in one game in late April, when the New York Yankees third baseman hit three home runs off Bartolo Colon and drove in 10 runs in a shellacking of the Angels at Yankee Stadium.
A-Rod started the Midsummer Classic last year in his first season as a third baseman after starting his stellar career at shortstop.
If the vote totals released this week are any indication, A-Rod will man the hot corner for the American League in this year's 76th version of the All-Star Game, which will take place July 12 at Comerica Park in Detroit.
Rodriguez's 613,218 votes give him a considerable lead over second-place sitter Bill Mueller of the Boston Red Sox, and Rodriguez's monster May (.349 batting average, eight homers, 22 RBIs) certainly had something to do with that ballot advantage.
But A-Rod isn't the only AL third baseman worthy of consideration for the big game.
Texas Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock, for example, has a good shot at his third straight appearance.
Blalock, whose home run won the 2003 All-Star Game in Chicago and gave the AL the first Midsummer Classic-determined home-field advantage in the World Series, also played in the 2004 game in Houston.
He's hardly embarrassing himself so far this year, with a .288 batting average, nine homers and 30 RBIs entering Friday.
While slugger Adrian Beltre of Seattle struggles to find his bearings in his first AL season, some other members of the AL deserve consideration.
Detroit's Brandon Inge, for example, is batting .313 with five homers and 25 RBIs as the Tigers' primary leadoff man and had an on-base percentage of .396 entering Friday.
And Baltimore's Melvin Mora is up to his usual tricks, hitting .298 with 10 homers and 31 RBIs through Thursday.
In the National League, the fans have spoken and they've said that even an injured Scott Rolen is the best choice for the All-Star Game -- so far.
Rolen was hitting .257 with five homers and 20 RBIs when he underwent shoulder surgery May 13 that could keep him out of action for at least another month, but that hasn't slowed down voters, who have him comfortably ahead after the first release of balloting results with 404,004 tallies.
In second place is Atlanta's Chipper Jones, who is doing his part to be considered, batting .297 with seven homers and 26 RBIs entering Friday.
Arizona third baseman Troy Glaus is enjoying a healthy shoulder and his first season in the NL, and his surprising Diamondbacks are benefiting from his potent bat. Through Thursday games, Glaus was leading his team with 13 homers and 36 RBIs and had amassed a .907 OPS.
Other NL third-sackers worthy of a look for an All-Star vote include David Wright of the New York Mets (.298, eight homers, 29 RBIs), Chicago's Aramis Ramirez (.265, 10 homers, 27 RBIs), Houston's Morgan Ensberg (.277, 10 homers, 27 RBIs), Cincinnati's Joe Randa (.285, five homers, 27 RBIs) and Vinny Castilla of the Washington Nationals (.287, four homers, 26 RBIs).
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.