Votto nears All-Star start, Phillips needs help

Votto nears All-Star start, Phillips needs help

Votto nears All-Star start, Phillips needs help
CINCINNATI -- The fate of the Reds' potential 2012 All-Stars will soon be set with just more than a week remaining, before the polls close on the 83rd All-Star Game.

With 3,151,032 total votes - second most in the National League behind the Dodgers' Matt Kemp - Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto has nearly secured his starting spot for the NL. This hasn't been accomplished by a Red since Ken Griffey Jr. in 2007.

Votto comfortably sits 1,957,577 votes ahead of the Braves' Freddie Freeman. The leading vote-getter at each infield position and catcher will start in the Midsummer Classic.

Votto has appeared in the past two All-Star Games, but has never started. He has had a red hot June thus far, hitting a staggering .492 with five homers and 16 RBIs in his 55 at-bats entering Tuesday's action.

He has increased his batting average to, a league leading, .368. His 29 doubles, 55 walks and .491 on-base percentage also led the Majors.

If Votto's stellar numbers in June hadn't been stealing the headlines in Cincinnati, it's likely Brandon Phillips' would have.

While the two-time All-Star has compiled 1,272,389 votes so far, his position on the leaderboard remained unchanged. He is still trailing only the Braves' Dan Uggla who has 2,054,920 votes.

It hasn't been for a lack of effort.

Flourishing as the Reds' cleanup man, Phillips is seeking his first All-Star Game start. He has knocked in a team-best 17 RBIs in June, while adding four home runs, a .343 average and several web gem nominees to his resume.

Uggla, who is batting .251 with 11 homers and 41 RBIs this season, has slowly continued to increase his lead over Phillips each week. He currently holds a 782,531 vote advantage.

While Votto and Phillips seemed poised for spots on the final All-Star squad, the future doesn't look as bright for right-fielder Jay Bruce.

Bruce has continued to slip in the All-Star voting, falling from 9th place two weeks ago, to 14th place last week, and down to 15th this week, after being jumped by the Braves' Martin Prado.

Bruce, who is batting .250 while leading the team with 16 homers and 46 RBIs, has totaled 893,101 votes. He will need some hefty support in order to land his second consecutive All-Star Game appearance.

The top three vote-getters in the outfield are Kemp, the Cardinals' Carlos Beltran (2,652,980) and the Giants' Melky Cabrera (2,144,107).

The Cardinals' Rafael Furcal overtook the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki for the lead at shortstop this week. The Mets' David Wright and the Giants' Buster Posey held their top spots at third base and catcher, respectively.

Fans can vote for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and at all 30 club sites -- online or via a mobile device -- using the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until June 28 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Fans can also once again participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Winners will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby. The 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States, beginning at 8 p.m. ET on July 9.

The 2012 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled July 1 on the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2012 All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com.

The final phase of All-Star Game voting will have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote. Their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.

The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on July 10. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.

The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.

Mark Clements is an associate writer for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.