Dozier, Suzuki need vote support for All-Star starts

Dozier, Suzuki need vote support for All-Star starts

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins are set to host the All-Star Game at Target Field on July 15 but will need some help to send a starting position player to the Midsummer Classic, as evidenced by the first American League All-Star Game ballot update released on Tuesday.

The Twins have two players ranked among the top five at their positions, but none among the top three. Brian Dozier ranks fourth among all AL second basemen with 194,941 votes, while Kurt Suzuki ranks fifth among AL catchers with 187,766 votes. First baseman Joe Mauer, who was named the All-Star Game ambassador in April, was not among the top five first basemen.

Detroit's Ian Kinsler leads AL second basemen with 356,244 votes, while Baltimore's Matt Wieters has a sizable lead among AL catchers with 540,258 votes. But both Dozier and Suzuki have strong cases to be first-time All-Stars.

"They've both played really well and had good starts to the season," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So you expect for them to be recognized by the people. Dozier has had a lot of publicity and Suzuki has been fantastic and a great pickup for us."

Dozier's 11 homers and 42 runs ranked as the most among all Major League second basemen entering Tuesday, while he ranked second in the AL among second basemen with 26 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.

"With the start he's had, he should be the starting second baseman," Suzuki said. "The numbers speak for themselves, and not just his hitting. He also plays Gold Glove-caliber defense out there."

Suzuki leads all MLB backstops with 27 RBIs, and his .366 on-base percentage is the highest by an AL catcher.

"It's cool," Suzuki said of being ranked in the top five in vote-getting among AL catchers. "It's not something you really focus on. That kind of stuff usually takes care of itself. If you're out there helping the team win ballgames, you'll be in a good position."

Mauer, meanwhile, was a six-time All-Star as a catcher, and he was voted in as a starter four times, including last season. But he has tougher company at first base with Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Jose Abreu, Chris Davis and Mark Teixeira rounding out the top five. Mauer is off to a slow start by his standards, as he's hitting .284/.366/.361 with two homers and five doubles in 43 games this year.

Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.

Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.

The 2014 All-Star teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5-6, with further details to follow on MLB.com. The AL will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the NL will have eight fan-elected starters. Pitchers and reserves for both squads -- totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL -- will be determined through a combination of "Player Ballot" choices and selections made by All-Star managers Mike Matheny (NL) and John Farrell (AL).

Immediately following the announcement of the rosters, you can select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Choose again at that point from among five players in each league. The Final Vote returns for its 13th season with more than 430 million votes cast to date, and you'll be able to make selections on MLB.com, club sites and your mobile device.

You'll be on a voting tear at that point, having already selected starters and the last men, and the ritual will not end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the big game, vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi. The fan voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, 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 SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.

Other Twins on the ballot are designated hitter Jason Kubel, shortstop Pedro Florimon, third baseman Trevor Plouffe and outfielders Josh Willingham, Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia. Catcher Josmil Pinto is not on the ballot, but he can be voted in as a write-in candidate.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.