ST. LOUIS -- With Chipper Jones no longer among his competitors, third baseman David Freese is hanging on to the top spot in the National League portion of the 2012 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by Firestone.
Major League Baseball released updated Final Vote standings on Wednesday morning, revealing that Freese leads a group of aspiring All-Stars that includes Washington's Bryce Harper, Atlanta's Michael Bourn and Arizona's Aaron Hill. Jones had been the early Final Vote leader but was removed from the ballot on Tuesday, when manager Tony La Russa selected him to replace Matt Kemp on the NL roster.
"I'm happy for Chipper," Freese said on Wednesday. "I think, with the career that he's had, he belongs there. The fans showed why he deserved to be an All-Star, and he got pulled out and now, obviously, everybody moves up one."
With campaigning rampant this week, Freese still needs another day of support to secure his first All-Star invite. A Final Vote win would also provide him with the opportunity to play for La Russa one final time. Freese will find out on Thursday afternoon whether he'll get that opportunity.
"I can't control it," he said, "so I'm trying not to worry about it. I'm worried about [Colorado starter Jeremy Guthrie] and the Rockies tonight and winning this ballgame."
Freese gave the Cardinals a boost when they needed it most in a 4-1 win over the Rockies on Wednesday, hitting a two-run single in the eighth inning to give St. Louis a three-run lead heading into the ninth. He has pulled his season average up to .285 by batting .341 over his last 21 games. He ranks second among all NL third basemen in average, third in RBIs (50) and second in home runs (13).
Those power numbers are one of the main reasons why teammate Carlos Beltran, who will start in the outfield for the NL on July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, said that Freese should be the one to win the Final Vote.
"It would be great if the fans continued to vote for him and give him the opportunity to be an All-Star," Beltran said. "It's a great privilege. It doesn't matter how you do it, by starting or by replacement. It's an honor to be there, so I just hope that he wins that."
Beltran has encouraged fans via Twitter to vote for Freese, and manager Mike Matheny said that his five children are making sure Freese gets their votes each day.
Freese said that the support he's getting from both his teammates and the St. Louis community has been humbling.
"It's St. Louis. They love Cardinal baseball, and they're doing what they can," he said.
Now in its 11th year, the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote presented by Firestone gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's MLB All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Taco Bell and continues until Thursday, July 5, at 3 p.m. CT. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.
To receive the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote presented by Firestone mobile ballot, text "VOTE" to 89269. To vote for Freese, simply text "N2" to 89269. Mobile voting in Canada also is available; fans should text their choices to 101010. Standard rates may apply.
On Tuesday the Cardinals and White Sox announced an alliance designed to increase support for two Central division candidates, both of whom also have ties to the Padres. The White Sox are trying to push starter Jake Peavy from the second spot in the American League Final Vote competition ahead of current leader Yu Darvish.
There will be an extra treat for fans as a thanks for participating in the Final Vote. If you are not a current subscriber to MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium, you will be offered the opportunity to receive a free trial of up to 14 days of 2012 MLB.TV from Friday through July 20. If you are a current subscriber, you will receive a 15-percent discount to the MLB.com Shop. MLB.com will send an email on Friday to all eligible Final Vote voters with instructions on how to redeem the applicable offer.
Balloting will be progressively intense, social media and hashtagging will be key, and you will get updates right here every day along the way. Be sure to include #FinalVote with your tweets.
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.