Ichiro's All-Star run in peril as voting nears end
Seattle oufielder, elected in nine of 10 years, falls to seventh place
SEATTLE -- Ichiro Suzuki's string of 10 consecutive All-Star Game appearances is in jeopardy as the Mariners right fielder has fallen to seventh among American League outfielders with only days remaining in online fan balloting.
Ichiro, 37, has yet to miss a Midsummer Classic since coming to the Major Leagues in 2001 from Japan. He's been voted in as a starter nine times and added as a reserve in 2005, the only season in which he didn't finish among the top three AL outfielders in fan balloting.
But with his batting average at an uncharacteristic .273 through the first three months of the season, voters have looked elsewhere this year, and Ichiro's All-Star fate will likely hinge on balloting among players and managers for the reserve positions.
Voting ends Thursday at 8:59 p.m. PT.
In the latest results released by Major League Baseball on Tuesday, Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista leads all AL outfielders with 5,263,840 votes, the highest total of any player in either league.
Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson is second among AL outfielders at 4,582,419, followed by the Rangers' Josh Hamilton with 3,173,000. Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury is right behind Hamilton at 3,051,675, with that race for the final outfield starting spot appearing headed to the wire.
Red Sox teammate Carl Crawford is fifth at 2,294,337, followed by Nelson Cruz of Texas at 1,912,783. Ichiro trails Cruz by just more than 700 votes at 1,912,062.
No other Mariners are in the top five in their positions heading into the final days.
Fans can still cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via a mobile device -- using the 2011 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint.
Rosters will be announced during the 2011 All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS on Sunday. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2011 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 2011 All-Star Game MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint.
The All-Star Game, to be played in Phoenix on July 12, 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.