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Cruz on track for All-Star start, but needs help

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz still leads the voting for the starting designated-hitter position in the second round of results released Tuesday for the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, but Matt Holliday of the Yankees has moved into second place in that race and has narrowed the gap.

Cruz is one of three Mariners position players among the top five at their position in the early voting. Second baseman Robinson Cano still stands fourth at second base, while Jean Segura remains fifth among shortstops.

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SEATTLE -- Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz still leads the voting for the starting designated-hitter position in the second round of results released Tuesday for the Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, but Matt Holliday of the Yankees has moved into second place in that race and has narrowed the gap.

Cruz is one of three Mariners position players among the top five at their position in the early voting. Second baseman Robinson Cano still stands fourth at second base, while Jean Segura remains fifth among shortstops.

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Cruz, a four-time All-Star who entered Tuesday leading the AL with 45 RBIs, has about a 155,000-vote lead over Holliday, as he's been named on 615,955 ballots, with Holliday at 460,355. Edwin Encarnacion of the Indians dropped to third this week with 447,275, roughly 1,000 ahead of Corey Dickerson of the Rays.

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Cruz has posted a .297/.379/.564 slash line in 56 games going into Tuesday night's series opener against the Twins at Safeco Field. Holliday has hit .271/.361/.525 with 12 homers and 37 RBIs in 51 games for the Yankees.

Cruz, 36, last made the All-Star team in 2015 in his first season in Seattle. He also was selected to the AL team in '09 and '13 while with the Rangers, and in '14 in his lone season with the Orioles.

Cano was Seattle's lone All-Star last year, and he has been selected for the AL team seven times -- twice while with the Mariners and five times with the Yankees. He's again putting up All-Star-caliber numbers, with a .282/.341/.495 line with 10 homers and 34 RBIs despite missing 11 games last month with a strained quadricep muscle in his right leg.

But Jose Altuve (998,107) of the Astros moved past Starlin Castro (778,699) of the Yankees into the lead in the second-base race, with Jason Kipnis of the Indians (402,228) and Cano (248,739) running third and fourth.

Segura, who is having an outstanding start to his first year in Seattle, leads the AL with a .341 batting average, but he's now on the 10-day disabled list for a second time this year with a sprained right ankle. He was a National League All-Star in 2013 with the Brewers.

Indians standout Francisco Lindor (842,166) continues to lead the shortstop balloting, while Miguel Sano (638,952) of the Twins and Jose Ramirez (541,040) of the Indians moved past Manny Machado (520,116) of the Orioles to take over the third-base battle.

The other change this week saw Michael Brantley (554,620) of the Indians overtaking Boston's Mookie Betts (519,146) for the third outfield spot behind Yankees rookie Aaron Judge (1,251,543) and Angels star Mike Trout (1,115,356). Judge moved into first ahead of Trout in that race and has the most votes of any AL player.

Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot until Thursday, June 29, at 8:59 p.m. PT. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB.com At Bat and MLB.com Ballpark mobile apps. Vote up to five times in any 24-hour period for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.

Following the announcement of the 2017 All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote for the final player on each league's All-Star roster. Then on Tuesday, July 11, while watching the 2017 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 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The 88th Midsummer Classic, at Marlins Park in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM will have comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, please visit AllStarGame.com and follow @AllStarGame on social media.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.