Rollins, Ibanez take over in NL voting
Phillies join teammate Utley among leaders; Beltran moves up
Welcome to the top of the All-Star leaderboards, Jimmy and Raul.
The third 2009 National League balloting update for Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, to be held July 14 in St. Louis, was released Monday and two more Phillies -- shortstop Jimmy Rollins and outfielder Raul Ibanez -- have taken the lead at their respective positions.
Ibanez should feel right at home. Phillies second baseman Chase Utley remains on top with more than 1.7 million votes, well ahead of the Dodgers' Orlando Hudson and Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks.
With 1,415,493 votes, Ibanez moved past Milwaukee's Ryan Braun (1,269,033) for the top spot in the outfield. Carlos Beltran of the Mets (1,092,516) advanced to the third starting spot, with the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano (1,078,904) sliding to fourth.
Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez, suspended for 50 games on May 7 for violating baseball's drug policy, remains a topic of conversation. The slugger remained in the fifth spot but with an edge of fewer than 6,000 votes over the Phillies' Shane Victorino. Two weeks ago, Ramirez was in the fourth spot among outfielders on the ballot.
As for Rollins, he earned the top spot this week by increasing his total to 936,377 votes, edging Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez (871,917) for the lead. Ramirez led by fewer than 17,000 votes a week go. Brewers star J.J. Hardy (662,474) led after the first week but remained in the third spot for the second consecutive week.
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 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.
At first base, Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols still leads all players on the ballot with 1,751,945 votes, but that total is just a little more than 2,000 votes ahead of Utley's total.
Another Phillies star, Ryan Howard (876,149) has made a push and leaped past Milwaukee's Prince Fielder (697,456) for the second place among NL first basemen.
San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (473,060), the Major League leader in home runs, has moved into fourth place, just ahead of Cincinnati's Joey Votto (323,791) in the impressive list of candidates.
Dominican countrymen Jose Reyes of the Mets and Houston's Miguel Tejada wrap up the top five at shortstop.
At catcher, Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina (874,329) leads the category and appears to be on track to call the pitches at his home park for the Mid-Summer Classic. Behind Molina, Braves catcher Brian McCann (660,523) moved into the second spot, Houston's Ivan Rodriguez and Milwaukee's Jason Kendall rank third and fourth, respectively, and the Phillies' Carlos Ruiz jumped into the top five.
Mets third baseman David Wright remains the leader at his position, followed by Washington's Ryan Zimmerman and Atlanta's Chipper Jones. Another Phillies player, Pedro Feliz, ranks fourth in votes at the position. Milwaukee's Bill Hall is fifth.
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.