Teixeira, Youkilis jockeying for position
Yanks' first baseman takes back lead from Sox slugger
It seems as if the historic Red Sox-Yankees rivalry exists on ballots, too.
At least that's the situation among American League first basemen, as Boston's Kevin Youkilis and New York's Mark Teixeira continue to be in a heated race with fewer than 10 days remaining in voting for the July 14 All-Star Game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Two weeks ago, Teixeira took a lead over Youkilis for the first time, and last week, Youkilis led Teixeira by a miniscule 1,315 votes. Now, in the latest ballot update announced Monday, Teixeira has jumped ahead by 35,632 votes -- with a total of 1,561,292 -- as both bid for their second All-Star Game start at first base.
Youkilis currently has the upper hand in batting average, and Teixeira's recent surge after a slow start has given him higher home run and RBI totals.
As for the category of fan votes? That will likely go down to the wire.
It's close for the Yankees and Red Sox at other positions, too, as each teams currently has one other player on top, with a few others on the mend.
Leading the way in the outfield is Boston's left fielder, Jason Bay, who is ahead of the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki and the Rangers' Josh Hamilton, who swapped positions this week, with Ichiro moving into second place. At shortstop, Yankees captain Derek Jeter leads the entire AL with 2,563, 093 votes as he looks to start his fourth straight All-Star Game.
However, with the Rays' Evan Longoria holding a 1.3 million-vote lead at third base, Jeter's partner on the left side of the infield, Alex Rodriguez, remains in danger of not being the AL's starting third baseman for the first time since becoming a member of the Yankees in 2004.
At second base, Ian Kinsler of the Rangers continues to lead the Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia. And behind the plate, Minnesota's .400-hitting catcher, Joe Mauer, leads Boston's Jason Varitek and New York's Jorge Posada, respectively.
Here's a position-by-position look at how things are shaping up in the AL:
Teixeira and Youkilis continue to go back-and-forth at first base. Behind them, just like last week, are the Twins' Justin Morneau and the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera, respectively.
At second base, Kinsler leads the reigning AL Most Valuable Player, Pedroia, by fewer than 59,000 votes as he looks for his second straight All-Star Game appearance and first start. Like last week, the Yankees' Robinson Cano and the Blue Jays' Aaron Hill follow.
Longoria, looks for his second All-Star Game appearance in as many years in the big leagues. It's been a rare slow start for A-Rod -- a .300-plus hitter in each of the first three months of the season for his career -- as his recovery from hip surgery has put his batting average in the low .200s. The Rangers' Michael Young, the Red Sox's Mike Lowell and the Tigers' Brandon Inge line up thereafter.
Jeter leads at shortstop over the Rays' Jason Bartlett, who is hitting .373 despite a recent trip to the disabled list. Rangers rookie Elvis Andrus and Toronto's Marco Scutaro follow.
Behind the plate, Mauer -- batting .407 -- leads Varitek and Posada as he looks for his second straight All-Star Game start.
Bay is the top man in the outfield, with Ichiro and Hamilton following suit. The Angels' Torii Hunter has moved up to fourth, and the Rays' stolen-base machine, Carl Crawford, is fifth, as both swapped places after last week. Dropping from sixth to ninth in the voting was 13-time All-Star Ken Griffey Jr.
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.
Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Pepsi 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.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.