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VOTE NOW: Help Santana live out ASG dream

Indians making #VoteLos push for vet slugger with Game in Cleveland
@MandyBell02
June 27, 2019

With time running out in the All-Star Starters Election, many races are still too close to call, and your votes will have a huge impact as most position battles have yet to be decided. • VOTE NOW: Google MLB All-Star Starters Election Here's a look at who's leading as of

With time running out in the All-Star Starters Election, many races are still too close to call, and your votes will have a huge impact as most position battles have yet to be decided.

VOTE NOW: Google MLB All-Star Starters Election

Here's a look at who's leading as of 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday:

FIRST BASE
AL
1) Carlos Santana (Indians): 49.3%
2) Luke Voit (Yankees): 26.0%
3) C.J. Cron (Twins): 24.7%

Complete standings coverage

CLEVELAND -- There isn’t a day that goes by that Carlos Santana doesn’t envision being announced as an All-Star for the first time in his career in front of the home crowd at Progressive Field.

On Friday, Santana was named one of three finalists to start at first base for the American League in the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard. He looks to become the first Indians first baseman to start a Midsummer Classic since Jim Thome in 1999.

“Thank you to the fans for giving me support,” Santana said. “I know Thursday’s the last day, so I hope they keep supporting, especially since the All-Star Game is here in Cleveland. I dream about that. I want my first time [as an All-Star] in my career in my home [ballpark].”

Santana's team is ready to do whatever it needs to fulfill his wish. The Indians are making “#VoteLos” T-shirts for each player to wear on Wednesday and, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, will be hosting a sweepstakes that automatically gives each person who votes a chance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and receive tickets to the Tribe's game against the Rangers on Aug. 5.

To make voting easier for fans in attendance on Wednesday, a voting booth will be available near section 153.

“It would be extremely meaningful,” manager Terry Francona said of Santana starting in the All-Star Game. “Not to me, personally. But to a lot of people. Everything we say here about him is true. We genuinely have a ton of affection for this kid. He shows up every day and all he wants to do is play. He’s got a smile on his face, and he’s worked hard to become a better defender. A guy that you want playing first base. A guy that pays attention to the game and picks his teammates up. The fact that the game’s in Cleveland would be really meaningful.”

Santana has been the Tribe’s most consistent hitter this season, leading the club in batting average, home runs, RBIs, runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, doubles and walks through the first 77 games of the season. Moreover, he leads all active players for the most career Wins Above Replacement (29) without a selection to the Midsummer Classic, according to Baseball-Reference.

What’s led to his success? Yes, the slugger has worked on using the entire field, but don’t underestimate the influence that returning to Cleveland after spending a year in Philadelphia had on Santana.

“That’s why I’ve played good,” Santana said. “... Philly is good. I didn’t have any problems there. ... But Cleveland is different. Way different.”

It's clear Santana has thought about the All-Star break a lot. He sat in the dugout prior to Monday’s game recalling how each of the last few T-Mobile Home Run Derby competitions have included at least one player from the host city. He’s hoping that can be him this year.

“I want to, especially since it’s here,” Santana said. “It’s a new experience for me. I made it before in the Minor Leagues, but it’s different now. I want to go to the Home Run Derby. If they asked me, I’d say, 'Yes.' It’s a great opportunity.”

Whether it’s the All-Star Game, Home Run Derby or both, Santana struggles to fight back a smile every time he’s asked about representing his team in his home city.

“It’s exciting,” Santana said. “I think about it every day.”

Pitchers and reserves are being named on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

The 2019 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard will be played on Tuesday, July 9, at Progressive Field in Cleveland. It will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. During the game, fans may visit MLB.com and the 30 club sites to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.