Magglio Ordonez has been hitting like an All-Star for the entire season. Now, his All-Star votes have finally made the jump.
While catcher Ivan Rodriguez and second baseman Placido Polanco maintained their leads in the latest and final balloting update released on Tuesday, Ordonez not only moved into the top three among AL outfielders, he leapfrogged both the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki and the Red Sox's Manny Ramirez into second place behind the Angels' Vladimir Guerrero.
The second through fourth outfielders are separated by mere thousands of votes, making this a contest that's expected to come down to the final hours before online balloting at MLB.com closes on Thursday night at 11:59 p.m. ET. If Ordonez stays ahead, the Tigers will have three position players in the All-Star starting lineup in San Francisco at AT&T Park on July 10 for the first time since 1984.
It has been a late surge for Ordonez, who wasn't even in the top six among AL outfielders when the first balloting update came out in May. To crack the starting lineup, his supporters have had to get out the votes to push Ordonez past All-Star regulars such as the Twins' Torii Hunter and Yankees leadoff man Johnny Damon and right fielder Bobby Abreu.
Now, Ordonez has made his way past Ramirez and Ichiro, both of whom have been elected in the past several years. Ichiro has been an All-Star every year since he joined the Major Leagues in 2001. Though Ramirez pulled out of last year's activities due to an injury, he has been the fans' choice every year since joining the Red Sox.
Ordonez currently leads the Majors in hitting, ranks close to the AL lead in RBIs and, if the season ended today, he would be a favorite for AL MVP along with Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez.
Pudge continues to lead a stacked list of talented AL catchers for what would be his 12th All-Star start, which would extend his record for catchers, and his 14th All-Star appearance overall. Polanco, meanwhile, has built a cushion of votes at second base that will likely make his All-Star debut a starting one.
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.
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.
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.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.