Griffey back on ASG ballot with Seattle
Veteran represented Mariners for 10 straight seasons in '90s
SEATTLE -- For the first time since 1999, Ken Griffey Jr. appears on the American League All-Star ballot representing the Mariners.Griffey is one of eight Mariners listed on this year's ballot, which does not include the designated hitter -- a position Griffey figures to see considerable playing time at this season.
Griffey is joined on the ballot by outfielders Ichiro Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez, third baseman Adrian Beltre, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, second baseman Jose Lopez and first baseball Russell Branyan, and catcher Kenji Johjima."That is pretty cool," Branyan said. "I might have been on one other ballot, a few years ago as a designated hitter, but this is the first time at a regular position. I will try to do well enough to get some votes." Branyan currently is on the shelf with back spasms. Fans can cast their ballots for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Spring Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. PT. 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 Spring Final Vote and MLB.com Branyan said he has been on two teams where a teammate was on the Final Vote ballot -- Chris Young with the Padres and last season it was Corey Hart of the Brewers. "They had a good campaign for Corey," Branyan recalled. "They had computers set up at the park and I voted for him as many times as they would let me." In addition, fans attending Mariners home games from May 1 through June 23 can vote for their favorite players via in-stadium voting. But 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, which will be played in St. Louis on July 14, 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. Griffey currently holds the franchise record for most times selected to the All-Star team, being named to the elite squad 10 consecutive years from 1990 through '99. Ichiro is second with eight consecutive All-Star Game selections. He has been named to 13 All-Star teams during his 20-year MLB career. Lopez is the only other current Mariners player on the ballot with an All-Star appearance on his resume. He was selected as a reserve to the 2006 All-Star team. Endy Chavez, who will share left field with Griffey during the season, is off and running to a superb season and could emerge as a Final Vote candidate the way he is helping the surprising Mariners get off to such a good start this season. Ichiro has been the Mariners' lone All-Star representative in three of the past five seasons. He was joined by Lopez in '06 and right-handed closer J.J. Putz in '07. "We have talked a lot about everybody having a better year than last year," manager Don Wakamatsu said, "and if they are doing those things, I would think they have a chance of making the All-Star team." The single-season high for the franchise is eight All-Stars in 2001.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.