Royals

Omar Infante moves into voting lead, giving Royals eight possible All-Star Game starters

Omar Infante is now leading the American League All-Star voting at second base, giving the Royals eight of nine potenial All-Star starters for the July 14 game in Cincinnati
Omar Infante is now leading the American League All-Star voting at second base, giving the Royals eight of nine potenial All-Star starters for the July 14 game in Cincinnati AP

After last week’s American League All-Star voting revealed seven Royals were leading at their positions, there seemed to be a backlash in the national media and among some fans of other teams.

How did voters respond?

By giving the Royals an eighth leader.

Second baseman Omar Infante, slumping in the batter’s box, rallied in the ballot box to overtake the Astros’ Jose Altuve on Monday, when the third AL All-Star voting update was released.

If Infante’s lead holds up through two more voting updates and when the final balloting ends July 2, he’ll cash in a salary bonus worth $250,000.

Not bad for a player who brought a .204 batting average into Monday’s game at Milwaukee.

The latest balloting did not go unnoticed in Cleveland. The Indians’ Twitter account looked to promote their guy, Jason Kipnis, posting pictures of stat sheets that have Kipnis leading the American League in several categories with Infante ranking at or near the bottom.

Infante could become the third All-Star to carry a batting average below .200 into the starting lineup.

In 1981, Dodgers second baseman Davey Lopes was hitting .169 and Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson .199 when the All-Star Game resumed a season that had lost seven summer weeks to a strike. Jackson told The New York Times that he didn’t deserve to be in the game, “But I got people who voted for me,” he said.

Infante completes an all-Royals infield that leads in the voting. Eric Hosmer at first base, Alcides Escobar at shortstop, Mike Moustakas at third base and Salvdor Perez lead, along with designated hitter Kendrys Morales and Lorenzo Cain among outfielders. Alex Gordon is third in the outfield voting.

Angels outfielder Mike Trout would be the only non-Royals player to start if the team were selected today.

Of the seven Royals who led the voting after the second update, five increased their lead.

None more than catcher Salvador Perez. His 7,202,292 votes lead all American League players and are nearly 4 million more than Stephen Vogt of the A’s.

Royals manager Ned Yost, who will manage the American League, said Sunday that defense keeps Infante in the Royals’ lineup despite three hits in his last 35 plate appearances and a .204 batting average on the season.

In the first year that All-Star balloting is completely an online process, Royals fans have taken full advantage of a system that allows 35 votes from one email address. Voting continues through 10:59 p.m. July 2 at MLB.com.

An executive from Major League Baseball told The Star last week that there was no evidence of foul play or voting irregularities, simply enthusiastic Royals fans.

Yost’s response: Match the Royals’ fans. If you don’t like the totals, vote for your players.

AL All-Star update No. 4

First basemen

Club

Votes

1. Eric Hosmer

Royals

5,777,363

2. Miguel Cabrera

Tigers

5,301,216

3. Prince Fielder

Rangers

1,794,589

4. Mark Teixeira

Yankees

1,032,924

5. Albert Pujols

Angels

931,585

Second basemen

Club

Votes

1. Omar Infante

Royals

4,518,765

2. Jose Altuve

Astros

4,209,702

3. Jason Kipnis

Indians

1,859,756

4. Ian Kinsler

Tigers

1,632,770

5. Dustin Pedroia

Red Sox

1,210,882

Third basemen

Club

Votes

1. Mike Moustakas

Royals

6,505,248

2. Josh Donaldson

Blue Jays

4,880,315

3. Nick Castellanos

Tigers

923,589

4. Adrian Beltre

Rangers

908,343

5. Manny Machado

Orioles

881,635

Shortstops

Club

Votes

1. Alcides Escobar

Royals

6,332,981

2. Jose Iglesias

Tigers

3,491,530

3. Jose Reyes

Blue Jays

1,649,076

4. Marcus Semien

Athletics

1,132,210

5. Jed Lowrie

Astros

978,177

Designated hitters

Club

Votes

1. Kendrys Morales

Royals

5,422,250

2. Nelson Cruz

Mariners

4,873,273

3. Edwin Encarnacion

Blue Jays

1,430,262

4. Victor Martinez

Tigers

1,188,737

5. Alex Rodriguez

Yankees

1,176,506

Catchers

Club

Votes

1. Salvador Perez

Royals

7,202,292

2. Stephen Vogt

Athletics

3,260,864

3. Russell Martin

Blue Jays

2,225,889

4. Brian McCann

Yankees

1,154,530

5. Alex Avila

Tigers

868,321

Outfielders

Club

Votes

1. Lorenzo Cain

Royals

6,611,781

2. Mike Trout

Angels

5,944,068

3. Alex Gordon

Royals

5,581,096

4. Alex Rios

Royals

3,952,551

5. Adam Jones

Orioles

3,248,559

6. Yoenis Cespedes

Tigers

3,165,784

7. Jose Bautista

Blue Jays

2,794,526

8. Michael Brantley

Indians

2,101,577

9. Jacoby Ellsbury

Yankees

1,788,449

10. Josh Reddick

Athletics

1,517,538

11. Hanley Ramirez

Red Sox

1,188,622

12. J.D. Martinez

Tigers

1,172,305

13. Rajai Davis

Tigers

1,073,790

14. Torii Hunter

Twins

1,041,097

15. Carlos Beltran

Yankees

1,012,302

Next updates: June 22 and 29

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BlairKerkhoff.

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