SEATTLE -- As voting for the Midsummer Classic hits the home stretch, Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz continues to maintain his lead for the starting designated-hitter position on the American League team in the latest 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot results.Cruz gained about another 10,000 votes in the past week
SEATTLE -- As voting for the Midsummer Classic hits the home stretch, Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz continues to maintain his lead for the starting designated-hitter position on the American League team in the latest 2017 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot results.
Cruz gained about another 10,000 votes in the past week over runner-up Matthew Holliday of the Yankees, increasing his lead to about 190,000 as of Tuesday, with nine days remaining before voting ends on June 29.
Cruz is the only Seattle player contending for a starting role in the July 11 game, as Robinson Cano dropped a spot this past week and is now fifth in balloting at second base, while the injured Jean Segura remained out of the top five in voting at shortstop for a second straight week.
• Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Cruz and other #ASGWorthy players
Cruz has led from the start in the DH race, though his lead is relatively narrow at a position where the voting is spread out pretty evenly. The four-time All-Star has been named on 1,118,873 ballots, with Holliday at 927,247. Corey Dickerson of the Rays is a close third at 926,163, followed by Edwin Encarnacion of the Indians, with 813,715.
Cruz has posted a .288/.369/.517 slash line with 14 home runs and is tied for the AL lead in RBIs with 53 in 68 games going into Tuesday night's contest against the Tigers at Safeco Field. Holliday has hit .270/.375/.516 with 14 homers and 46 RBIs in 63 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 2009 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 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-quality numbers with a .286/.344/.465 line with 11 homers and 40 RBIs despite missing 11 games last month with a strained quadricep muscle in his right leg.
But Jose Altuve (2,185,035) of the Astros is having another big year, and he has opened a wide lead over Starlin Castro (1,450,472) of the Yankees in the second-base race. Jason Kipnis of the Indians (703,131) is third, while Boston's Dustin Pedroia (429,194) leapfrogged Cano (417,347) into fourth place this week.
Segura is having an outstanding start to his first year in Seattle and is hitting .341, but he is on the 10-day disabled list for a second time this year with a sprained right ankle. He was an NL All-Star in 2013 with the Brewers.
Kansas City's Eric Hosmer moved ahead of Oakland's Yonder Alonso this week in a heated battle at first base, while the rest of the AL leaders remained the same, with Carlos Correa of the Astros at shortstop, Miguel Sano of the Twins at third base, Salvador Perez of the Royals at catcher and the outfield consisting of Yankees rookie Aaron Judge, Angels star Michael Trout and Astros leadoff man George Springer.
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 [