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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

While Avila might be an All-Star, Verlander likely won't pitch in ASG

In just his second season, Alex Avila has become so crucial to the Tigers lineup that manager Jim Leyland has trouble going more than a game or two without him hitting. The skipper has put him at third base — his initial position in college — once already on this six-game Interleague road trip, and has DH'ed him a few times before that.

It's becoming increasingly clear that he's the team's best shot for an All-Star starter, as well. The youngster is gaining ground on New York's Russell Martin for the lead in voting among American League catchers, as well, moving within 500,000 votes.

At first base, Miguel Cabrera (1.7M votes) still lags behind Boston's Adrian Gonzales (3M) and New York's Mark Teixeira (2.4M), while shortstop Jhonny Peralta (875K) still trails NY's Derek Jeter (2.6M), Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera (2.2M) and Texas' Elvis Andrus (1.5M). Victor Martinez is also a distant fourth in the voting at designated hitter.

While Justin Verlander may be the prohibitive favorite to earn the nod as the AL starting pitcher, just based on stats alone, he's unlikely to pitch in the game, the way the rotation currently shakes out. Leyland said Monday that he'll keep his rotation in line despite the off day Thursday, meaning that Verlander's final start of the first half will come Sunday, July 10. All-Star who pitch that day are honored with a spot on the roster, but are prohibited from pitching in the game.

Leyland said he would not alter his rotation to accommodate Verlander. The pitcher, for his part, downplayed the fact that he might miss a chance at playing in his fourth All-Star Game, noting that he's had the chance before. Last year, he himself was a replacement for a pitcher who'd thrown the Sunday prior to the game.

"The All-Star game is a show ... It's not taken seriously," he told reporters after Monday's game. "The only thing that's serious is winning games for the Tigers. Would it be nice to go out there and pitch? Yes. But what's more important? Obviously this ... for the Tigers."

Here are the current vote totals:

Russell Martin, Yankees: 2,226,797
Alex Avila, Tigers: 1,730,511
Joe Mauer, Twins: 1,341,474
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox: 1,135,617
Yorvit Torrealba, Rangers: 980,697

Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox: 3,017,960
Mark Teixeira, Yankees: 2,407,665
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 1,771,893
Mitch Moreland, Rangers: 890,468
Paul Konerko, White Sox: 676,194

Robinson Cano, Yankees: 3,664,498
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 2,239,172
Ian Kinsler, Rangers: 1,452,880
Orlando Cabrera, Indians: 910,941
Ben Zobrist, Rays: 828,771

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 2,876,537
Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 2,307,380
Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox: 2,025,438
Evan Longoria, Rays: 1,639,405
Brandon Inge, Tigers: 490,734

Derek Jeter, Yankees: 2,654,040
Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: 2,242,157
Elvis Andrus, Rangers: 1,513,929
Jhonny Peralta, Tigers: 875,371
Marco Scutaro, Red Sox: 813,888

David Ortiz, Red Sox: 3,116,578
Michael Young, Rangers: 1,760,195
Jorge Posada, Yankees: 1,120,830
Victor Martinez, Tigers: 932,711
Johnny Damon, Rays: 864,535

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 4,156,940
Curtis Granderson, Yankees: 3,473,227
Josh Hamilton, Rangers: 2,400,408
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: 2,249,323
Carl Crawford, Red Sox: 1,789,097
Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: 1,537,101
Nelson Cruz, Rangers: 1,462,426
Nick Swisher, Yankees: 1,271,843
Brett Gardner, Yankees: 1,120,179
J.D. Drew, Red Sox: 1,112,720
Matt Joyce, Rays: 1,038,098
Jeff Francoeur, Royals: 906,983
Grady Sizemore, Indians: 867,281
David Murphy, Rangers: 785,630
Shin-Soo Choo, Indians: 764,817


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