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Varitek catching up to the pack

Varitek catching up to the pack

BOSTON -- Odd years have recently been a charm for Jason Varitek when it comes to the All-Star Game. The invaluable Red Sox catcher made the American League squad in 2003 and '05. And that trend could well continue in '07, with Varitek making a strong push to join the best of the best for the third time in his career.

The switch-hitter, who was hindered badly by injuries in 2006, has regained his groove at the plate and is third behind Ivan Rodriguez and Jorge Posada in the online vote for AL catchers.

Varitek is just one of several Red Sox players doing well on the ballot.

Star slugger David Ortiz leads the field at first base, followed by reigning American League Most Valuable Player Justin Morneau. Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, who is having an outstanding season, isn't on the ballot, but fans can still choose him as a write-in candidate.

Manny Ramirez trails only Vladimir Guerrero in the outfield, putting him on pace to be an All-Star for the 11th time in his career. J.D. Drew is eighth among outfielders, while center fielder Coco Crisp is 12th.

The All-Star Game will be played on July 10 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2007 All-Star online ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until Thursday, June 28, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Fans will also be given the opportunity to cast an All-Star vote immediately following the 2007 MLB "All-Star Game Selection Show" presented by Chevrolet, which will be televised by Turner Sports on Sunday, July 1. Baseball fans around the world will be able to select the final player on each All-Star team via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Final Vote.

Selecting the rosters isn't the end of the fun in 2007, either. Concluding the All-Star balloting process, fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote at MLB.com.

All-Star Game Coverage

The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will have exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.

Which other Red Sox players might be Bay Area-bound? Dustin Pedroia, the American League Rookie of the Month in May, ranks third at second base. Mike Lowell is second behind Alex Rodriguez at the hot corner. Shortstop Julio Lugo trails Derek Jeter, Carlos Guillen and Miguel Tejada.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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