Leyland backs Cabrera for All-Star Game

Leyland backs Cabrera for All-Star Game

CHICAGO -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland has stayed relatively quiet on Miguel Cabrera's case to become an All-Star for the first time as a Detroiter. The way he's hitting now, not even Leyland could keep it quiet much longer.

It was a passing remark Leyland made after Wednesday's loss to the White Sox, but it got his point across after Cabrera hit his 18th home run of the season to move into a tie for the Major League lead.

"If he's not on the All-Star team, there's something wrong with the whole system," Leyland said. "There's no question about that. If you can't make an All-Star team with what he's been doing, then there's just something wrong with the system. And there probably is something wrong with the system, to be honest about it. But that's OK. It is what it is, and we'll get through that.

"You have to be careful when you talk about personal things, but like I said, if Miguel Cabrera's not on the All-Star team, then you might as well not have an All-Star team."

Though Cabrera owns or shares the league lead in two of the three Triple Crown categories, and isn't far off in batting average, he amazingly ranks just third in All-Star balloting among AL first basemen. He trails AL batting leader Justin Morneau, but he also trails the Yankees' Mark Teixeira, who's having an off season by many standards.

While it's likely Cabrera would earn a reserve spot through voting by Major League players, it's conceivable that he might not, especially if Teixeira wins the starting spot through fan balloting. While Morneau has also made his case, Royals first baseman Billy Butler could end up making the squad as his club's lone representative. That would take up three roster spots.

That makes the balloting process all the more important. Online balloting continues through July 1 at MLB.com. In-person balloting runs through Saturday at Comerica Park.