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Molina needs final push to make ninth ASG

Veteran currently ranked fourth among backstops
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

Over the past few years, Yadier Molina's swing has enjoyed a late-career transformation. Once known offensively for his contact skills, Molina is now -- two weeks from his 36th birthday -- the National League's premier power threat from the catcher position. His 11 home runs put him on pace to match a career high (22), are tied for the most among NL catchers, and have come despite missing a month due to injury. 

VOTE NOW: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

Over the past few years, Yadier Molina's swing has enjoyed a late-career transformation. Once known offensively for his contact skills, Molina is now -- two weeks from his 36th birthday -- the National League's premier power threat from the catcher position. His 11 home runs put him on pace to match a career high (22), are tied for the most among NL catchers, and have come despite missing a month due to injury. 

VOTE NOW: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

And yet, that power surge hasn't translated into much All-Star support. Molina ranks fourth in the final voting update for the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, released Monday, behind Giants catcher Buster Posey, Cubs backstop Willson Contreras, and Atlanta's Kurt Suzuki. With only three days until voting is set to end on Thursday, Molina is the only Cardinals player to place in the top five at his position.

Molina (913,149 votes) trails Posey (1,384,631 votes) by a 471,482-vote margin. The eight-time National League Gold Glove Award winner has spent the season collecting historical milestones for his durability behind the plate, and is hitting .267/.311/.476 in 54 games overall. He is seeking his ninth All-Star appearance, and his first start since 2013.

But he'll likely need to leapfrog Suzuki, Contreras and Posey to earn a selection to the game, with the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto figuring to garner strong player and coach support. Realmuto (818,925 votes) slots in behind Molina in the fan voting, though he leads NL catchers in a slew of major offensive categories.

Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday at 10:59 p.m. CT. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.

Following the announcement of this year's All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote for the final player on each league's roster. Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., 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 of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Yadier Molina