Strong Yankees candidates in All-Star balloting

The Yankees are well represented on the 2010 All-Star Game ballot that was launched last week in-park and online for the 83rd event July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The online ballot runs through June 28 exclusively on MLB.com and all 30 club sites wired or mobile that allows voters to cast up to 25 ballots per e-mail address. In-park balloting concludes June 22.

Several Yankees have already begun their All-Star campaigns. Shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who were elected to the starting lineup in 2011 but were unable to play due to injuries, have been steadily moving up the all-time lists in hits and home runs, respectively. Curtis Granderson, who earned a berth in the American League outfield a year ago, has six home runs already this season. Russell Martin, the AL’s starting catcher in 2011, showed signs of breaking out of an early-season slump, with two hits and two RBI Saturday at Boston.

Nick Swisher, who began play Tuesday night leading the AL in RBI with 21, and Brett Gardner, who was batting .321 when he went on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow injury, are on the ballot alongside Granderson in the outfield. On the left side of the infield are second baseman Robinson Cano, who won the All-Star Home Run Derby last year at Chase Field in Phoenix, and first baseman Mark Teixeira, who has the unenviable task of trying to outpoint such sluggers as the Angels’ Albert Pujols, the Tigers’ Prince Fielder, the White Sox’ Paul Konerko and the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez in perhaps the most heated position on either league’s ballot. Designated hitter Raul Ibanez has a similar task against such competition as the Red Sox’ David Ortiz, the Twins’ Justin Morneau and the Ranges’ Michael Young.

You can help, of course, either at Yankee Stadium or online. At stake is home field advantage in the World Series, which has gone to the National League each of the past two years.

More than 20 million Firestone All-Star ballots will be distributed at the 30 major-league parks, each of which will have 23 dates for balloting, and in approximately 100 minor-league parks.

Firestone, the official tire of MLB, is once again the exclusive sponsor of the 2012 In-Stadium All-Star Balloting Program. The ballot features an All-Star sweepstakes, in which a winner will be awarded a trip for two to MLB All-Star Week – including airfare, hotel accommodations, tickets to the All-Star Game and other MLB All-Star Week events – and a set of four Firestone tires.

Scotts, the official lawn care company of MLB, is the sponsor of the retail All-Star Balloting Program, which begins May 4 in select Lowe’s stores and Chevrolet dealerships across the country. The ballot includes the opportunity for a chance to win a baseball field makeover using Scotts products for your community.

For the fourth consecutive year, this year’s ballot will feature the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans may select three players in each league who they would most like to see in the annual slugfest as part of the Gatorade All-Star Workout Day the day before the game. Cano is among the AL candidates as well as 2009 winner Fielder, Pujols, Konerko, Ortiz and the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, who put on that dazzling show in 2008 at the old Yankee Stadium.

The 2012 AL and NL All-Star Teams will be announced July 1 on TBS. Pitchers and reserves for both squads will be determined through a combination of player ballot choices and those of the All-Star managers – the AL’s Ron Washington of the Rangers and the NL’s Tony La Russa – in conjunction with Major League Baseball. La Russa will come out of retirement solely to manage in this game.

Immediately following the announcement of the rosters, fans may begin voting to select the final players for the 34-man rosters from a list of five players from each league over a four-day period. Winners will be revealed after the voting concludes July 5.

The final phase of All-Star Game voting will 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 may vote exclusively online at MLB.com. Their collective voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining this year’s winner of the Arch Ward Trophy.

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