Third outfield spot very tight, catchers close in AL vote

Cespedes, Melky only 12,000 apart, while Norris chases Wieters and Jeter's lead grows

Third outfield spot very tight, catchers close in AL vote

The American League All-Star candidates are rounding third and heading for Minneapolis.

The latest and final AL voting update came in on Monday, and the starters will be unveiled on the Taco Bell All-Star Selection Show at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday on ESPN. But first, fans still have the opportunity, until Thursday night, to decide some close races and determine who will start in the 85th All-Star Game on July 15 at Target Field.

One of the hottest battles in the AL is at shortstop, where retiring Yankees captain Derek Jeter (2,924,686) stood firm in his bid against Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox (2,325,527) to start in the Midsummer Classic in his final season. Also, the injured Matt Wieters of the Orioles (2,103,385) continues to lead the surging Derek Norris of the A's (1,924,049) in the catchers' race.

The league's top two vote-getters -- and the only two with four million votes -- are both outfielders, and the race between them for baseball's top vote accumulation is on. The Blue Jays' Jose Bautista leads all Major Leaguers with 4,460,245 votes while the Angels Mike Trout trails him with 4,085,647, a difference of about 375,000. No other player in the big leagues has more than 4 million.

Behind Bautista and Trout, the race for the third AL outfield spot is tight as ever. Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes (1,941,553) moved into that spot, but former No. 3 outfielder Melky Cabrera of the Blue Jays (1,929,506) is only 12,000 votes behind in his bid to join his teammate Bautista in the starting lineup. The Orioles' Adam Jones (1,853,268) and the Indians' Michael Brantley (1,630,452) are close behind.

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 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access the 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.

It will take astronomical pushes to topple the other four AL race leaders. Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera (3,323,380) seems to be running away with the first-base race, and the same goes for Oakland's Josh Donaldson (2,943,332) at third base.

The Mariners' Robinson Cano (2,474,924) still has a sizable lead over Detroit's Ian Kinsler (1,603,185) for the starting second-base job, and the Orioles' Nelson Cruz (2,944,267) has pulled away from Boston's David Ortiz (1,948,211) in the designated-hitter race.

The AL will have nine elected starters via the fan balloting program, while the National League 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 of the Cardinals (NL) and John Farrell of the Red Sox (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 selection of 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. More information is available at allstargame.com.

AMERICAN LEAGUE ALL-STAR VOTE LEADERS

CATCHER
1. Matt Wieters, Orioles: 2,103,385
2. Derek Norris, A's: 1,924,049
3. Brian McCann, Yankees: 1,624,214
4. Kurt Suzuki, Twins: 1,025,717
5. A.J. Pierzynski, Red Sox: 925,996

FIRST BASE
1. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 3,323,380
2. Jose Abreu, White Sox: 1,801,592
3. Chris Davis, Orioles: 1,292,412
4. Albert Pujols, Angels: 1,190,751
5. Mark Teixeira, Yankees: 877,468

SECOND BASE
1. Robinson Cano, Mariners: 2,474,924
2. Ian Kinsler, Tigers: 1,603,185
3. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 1,477,800
4. Jose Altuve, Astros: 1,312,805
5. Brian Dozier, Twins: 994,447

THIRD BASE
1. Josh Donaldson, A's: 2,943,332
2. Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 1,730,748
3. Evan Longoria, Rays: 1,457,752
4. Manny Machado, Orioles: 1,409,804
5. Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays: 865,684

SHORTSTOP
1. Derek Jeter, Yankees: 2,924,686
2. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox: 2,325,527
3. J.J. Hardy, Orioles: 1,534,547
4. Jose Reyes, Blue Jays: 1,008,063
5. Jed Lowrie, A's: 732,766

OUTFIELD
1. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 4,460,245
2. Mike Trout, Angels: 4,085,647
3. Yoenis Cespedes, A's: 1,941,553
4. Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays: 1,929,506
5. Adam Jones, Orioles: 1,853,268
6. Michael Brantley, Indians: 1,630,452
7. Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees: 1,501,306
8. Nick Markakis, Orioles: 1,382,329
9. Carlos Beltran, Yankees: 1,292,920
10. Torii Hunter, Tigers: 1,167,642
11. Coco Crisp, A's: 911,522
12. Brett Gardner, Yankees: 908,921
13. Josh Hamilton, Angels: 860,919
14. Alex Rios, Rangers: 838,404
15. Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers: 764,340

DESIGNATED HITTER
1. Nelson Cruz, Orioles: 2,944,267
2. David Ortiz, Red Sox: 1,948,211
3. Victor Martinez, Tigers: 1,822,927
4. Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays: 1,590,498
5. Brandon Moss, A's: 949,009

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.