SEATTLE -- Nelson Cruz has shown no signs of slowing down at the plate despite a nagging calf injury, and the Mariners slugger isn't easing up at the ballot box either, as he extended his lead for the starting designated hitter position in the latest American League results released Tuesday
SEATTLE -- Nelson Cruz has shown no signs of slowing down at the plate despite a nagging calf injury, and the Mariners slugger isn't easing up at the ballot box either, as he extended his lead for the starting designated hitter position in the latest American League results released Tuesday for the 2017 Esurance All-Star Ballot.
Cruz opened up his lead over runner-up Matthew Holliday of the Yankees to about 180,000 votes, though the news wasn't as good for his teammates. Robinson Cano remains a distant fourth in balloting at the second base position, while Jean Segura dropped out of the Top 5 in voting at shortstop.
Cruz, a four-time All-Star who leads the AL with 50 RBIs, has been named on 863,549 ballots, with Holliday at 689,918. Corey Dickerson of the Rays jumped two spots into third in the DH race with 668,702, followed by Edwin Encarnacion of the Indians with 605,454 .
Cruz had posted a .303/.387/.559 slash line with 14 home runs in 61 games going into Tuesday night's game against the Twins at Target Field. Holiday has hit .280/.384/.530 with 13 homers and 44 RBIs in 58 games for the Yankees.
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Cruz, 36, most recently 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 quality numbers with a .281/.339/.484 line with 11 homers and 38 RBIs despite missing 11 games last month with a strained quadriceps muscle in his right leg.
But Jose Altuve (1,615,938) of the Astros has opened up a sizable lead in the second-base competition, as Starlin Castro (1,072,305) of the Yankees is second, with Jason Kipnis of the Indians (538,061) and Cano (343,354) running third and fourth, respectively.
Segura is having an outstanding start to his first year in Seattle and is hitting .343, but he's currently 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.
Astros standout Carlos Correa moved ahead of Francisco Lindor of the Indians this week in a heated battle at shortstop, and Oakland's Yonder Alonso took over the lead at first base ahead of the Tigers' Jose Cabrera, while Miguel Sano of the Twins continues leading at third base and Salvador Perez still leads the pack at catcher,
The other change this week saw George Springer of the Astros overtake Michael Brantley of the Indians for the third outfield spot behind Yankees rookie Aaron Judge and Angels star Michael Trout.
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 [