All-Star balloting begins

Heading into the nine-game homestand that began Friday night with the opener of a three-game series against the Angels, Ichiro Suzuki was the Yankees’ leading hitter with a .371 batting average and Yangervis Solarte was tied with Carlos Beltran for the club lead in RBI with 13. If Yankees fans want Ichiro or Solarte to play in the All-Star Game in July, they are going to have to write their names in on the ballots that became available at major league ballparks Friday night.

Suzuki and Solarte were the odd men out of Yankees players on the American League ballot. Solarte, a rookie, is no surprise. Ballots are made up before the season starts, so rookies who get off to the sort of start Solarte has get short shrift. Solarte has played third base mostly. Representing the Yankees at that position is Solarte’s platoon partner, veteran Kelly Johnson. The other Yankees infielders on the ballot are Mark Teixeira at first base, Brian Roberts at second and Derek Jeter at shortstop.

Ichiro, a 10-time All-Star who was the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, lost his regular right field job to Beltran and is doing a splendid job off the bench. Suzuki last made the AL All-Star team in 2010. The other Yankees outfielders on the ballot with Beltran are Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner.

Alsonso Soriano, who has played left field and right field, is listed on the ballot with the designated hitters. The catcher is Brian McCann, another former All-Star Game MVP (2010 at Angel Stadium) for the National League with the Braves.

This year’s All-Star Game will be July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Also Friday night, former Yankees player Ron Blomberg, Major League Baseball’s first designated hitter, took part in a special meet-and-greet session in the SAP Suite Lounge prior to the Yankees.

On Wednesday, April 30, the Yankees will launch the 2014 “Best Selling Author Series” in the SAP Suite Lounge. International best-selling author Harlan Coben will be present to interact with fans. With more than 60 million books in print worldwide, Coben’s novels have collectively reached No. 1 on the “bestsellers list” in more than a dozen countries. The Newark, N.J., native will also throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to that night’s game against the Mariners, whose arrival in town next week will mark the return to the Stadium of Robinson Cano.

The Yankees will partner with MELA Sciences to host a free skin cancer screening for all ticketed guests Sunday, May 4, prior to that day’s game against the Rays. The screenings, which cover exclusively the arms and face, will take place on the Main Level behind the plate (Sections 217-223) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and take less than a minute to complete.

The homestand will also feature the following promotional items and dates:

Friday, April 25 – Yankees vs. Angels, 7:05 p.m.

Herbs Seed Packet Night, presented by Keep America Beautiful, to first 18,000 guests in attendance.

Friday, May 2 – Yankees vs. Rays, 7:05 p.m.

Yankees Ear Buds Night, presented by The Dannon Company, Inc., to first 18,000 guests in attendance.

Saturday, May 3 – Yankees vs. Rays, 1:05 p.m.

Yankees Cap Day, presented by Hess, to all guests in attendance.

For information on parking and public transportation options to Yankee Stadium, please visit yankees.com.

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