MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins first baseman Justin Morneau may have fallen out of the lead for the American League batting race this week, but he saw his lead grow in another race -- All-Star balloting. For the second straight week, Morneau was first among AL first baseman when the balloting results were released Monday. After beating out the Yankees' Mark Teixeira by just a little over 42,000 votes last week for the top spot, Morneau saw his lead grow significantly. Morneau now stands in first place with 1,402,496 votes with Teixeira in second with 1,221,457. Not too far behind is Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera with 1,009,822 votes.
"Hopefully it's that way at the end of the voting and not the middle," Morneau said this week of leading the race at first base. "It's pretty cool to see myself there, having been third or fourth or fifth in recent years. I think last year I finished second or third. When you are competing against those Boston and New York guys, New York their fan base is basically all across the U.S. and same with the Red Sox. So to be up there with those guys is pretty cool." But Morneau, who is batting .350 with 13 home runs, 43 RBIs and a .460 on-base percentage, is not the only Twins player leading the race at his position. Catcher Joe Mauer has a commanding lead at his position, and he's also the leading vote-getter among all AL players as his 2,617,822 votes give him the edge over Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who has 2,108,659 votes. Mauer is vying for his third straight start behind the plate at the All-Star Game, but his teammates believe this kind of recognition for the reigning AL MVP is pretty special. "It says a lot to his status in the game," Morneau said of Mauer leading all players in votes. "Obviously he's the best player at his position and the fans are recognizing that. It's good for him. It's pretty cool for someone from Minnesota to be leading the way he is. Obviously, we've got fans in many parts of the country, but you could pretty much walk in anywhere and find a Yankees fan. For him to be ahead of Jeter and [Alex Rodriguez] is pretty cool." Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites using the 2010 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot sponsored by Sprint until July 1 at 10:59 p.m. CT. Sprint subscribers can now vote on the go with select Sprint devices. They can learn more about how to vote on their smart phones at MLB.com/Sprint. This year's Midsummer Classic will take place on July 13 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. The Twins are well represented in the latest balloting results, although no one besides Morneau and Mauer is in the lead. Shortstop J.J. Hardy is third at his position with 647,891 votes and second baseman Orlando Hudson is fourth with 718,183 votes. Third baseman Nick Punto and designated hitter Jason Kubel are both currently fifth at their respective positions. The Twins also have two outfielders currently in the top 15, with the top three in balloting earning spots in this year's All-Star Game. Michael Cuddyer is currently in 10th place, and Denard Span is in 13th place in the latest ballot update. Starting rosters will be announced during the 2010 All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS on July 4. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by Sprint. 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 2010 All-Star Game MVP Vote sponsored by Sprint. 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.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.