Two stories that I just wanted to mention briefly:
At first base, Mark Teixeira (827,247 votes) has a 142,000-vote lead over Gonzalez, who as a San Diego Padre was the NL’s starter in each of the last three Midsummer Classics. Furthermore, Boston’s new first sacker is crowded by Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, the 2010 starter who is only 7,000 votes behind.
• Shortstop Derek Jeter, gunning for his 12th All-Star spot (and his 3,000th career hit, which should come sooner), has drawn 931,410 votes for a comfortable early lead over Asdrubal Cabrera (672,105), the other half of Cleveland’s all-Cabrera double-play combo and the surprising Indians’ highest-polling player.
• Thirteen-time All-Star Alex Rodriguez is 190,000 votes up on the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre and is seeking his first All-Star start since 2008. The guy who had supplanted A-Rod in the AL’s starting lineup, the Rays’ Evan Longoria, may have taken a ballot-box hit due to his month-long absence with an oblique injury but is in the picture.
• At catcher, Russell Martin has regained his cred along with his game. A two-time All-Star with the Dodgers, including the NL’s starter in 2007, Martin (843,459) has a lead of a quarter-million votes over three-time starter Joe Mauer, who hasn’t played since mid-April due to weakness in his legs.
• Granderson, a 2009 reserve, is having a breakout season certainly deserving of being in contention for his first All-Star start. He is fewer than 6,000 votes shy of a million but is being chased by Hamilton and Suzuki and a strong field behind them.
Granderson and Martin are solid choices who are likely deserving of their starting spots (although Alex Avila of the Tigers does have an argument for the catching position), while Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are among the top 3 at their respective positions and are defensible selections. Robinson Cano, who has been inconsistent at the plate and in the field, is well within striking distance of the leaders at his position and could conceivably be a solid selection by the time the game rolls around. The only egregious choice is Derek Jeter, but his selection by the fans is to be expected. Looking at the list of AL shortstops, there is not a single one who has the name recognition needed to steal votes from an aging star like Jeter, and I would be surprised if Jeter was passed in the voting by the likes of Asdrubal Cabrera.
In a bit of news that could only fire up someone with the Yankees and A-Rod in his crosshairs, Alex Rodriguez has been hanging around with a shady family member:
The New York Daily New reported that Sucart was seen at the Yankees’ hotel in San Francisco during the team’s recent stay in the Bay Area for a series against the Oakland A’s. MLB told ESPNNewYork.com that a hotel lobby is not an area that the league can police, and therefore no violation of Sucart’s ban occurred.
In admitting he had used performance-enhancing drugs in 2009, Rodriguez said that Sucart was the person who procured the drugs, deemed by Rodriguez as “boli,” from the Dominican Republic and injected the Yankees third baseman.
At the time, Sucart was working as an assistant to Rodriguez. The Yankees, in coordination with MLB, banned Sucart from restricted team areas — non-public areas such as the clubhouse and team charters.
I have never cared much about steroids, so forgive me if I do not get riled up about Alex Rodriguez hanging out with a family member who once provided him with performance enhancers. To me, this is pretty much a non-story used to fill space on an off-day. That said, your mileage may vary, so I wanted to toss the story up here and see how our readers felt about the “issue.”
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