Bay leads AL outfielders in early voting

Bay leads AL outfielders in voting

BOSTON -- Since arriving in Boston in the heart of the pennant race on Aug. 1, 2008, Jason Bay has been a production machine. Naturally, he has become beloved in Red Sox Nation. But it is apparent that Bay's popularity is expanding throughout the baseball public, given where he stands in the All-Star ballot.

The first round of American League results were announced on Wednesday, and Bay led all outfielders with 446,183 votes. Josh Hamilton and Ichiro Suzuki round out the top three.

The Boston left fielder is vying for his third All-Star appearance, but first in the AL.

Nobody can question Bay's flair for the dramatic this season. He has been at or near the top of the league in RBIs in "close and late situations" through most of the season.

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at

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 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at

The All-Star Game, which is set for July 14 in St. Louis, 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 will offer extensive online coverage.

The Red Sox have plenty of other players in the running for a spot in St. Louis. Kevin Youkilis, who made the first All-Star appearance of his career last year, is in the lead at first base. Youkilis is having another terrific season as Boston's cleanup hitter.

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, coming off his Most Valuable Player Award season of a year ago, is second in the balloting to Ian Kinsler of the Rangers. Pedroia started for the AL last year.

Sox third baseman Mike Lowell is fifth at his position, trailing Evan Longoria (Rays), Michael Young (Rangers), Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) and Scott Rolen (Blue Jays). Lowell, who has rebounded nicely from the right hip surgery he had at the end of the 2008 season, is a four-time All-Star.

Jason Varitek, the Red Sox's captain, trails only Joe Mauer (Twins) and Victor Martinez (Indians) at catcher. Varitek is a three-time All-Star.

Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who has never made the All-Star team, is ninth in the outfield race. J.D. Drew, the Most Valuable Player of last year's All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, is 13th among outfielders.

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