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New York Yankees slugger in tight race to start All-Star Game

New York Yankees slugger in tight race to start All-Star Game

New York Yankees slugger Juan Soto has never appeared in an American League All-Star Game and would love to start alongside teammate Aaron Judge in next month’s game at Globe Life Field.

Fan voting won’t make it easy.

Soto was in the lead after the first ballot was released Monday, but his advantage was tenuous as fans across the country kept two other outfielders on his heels.

Soto led the way at 29%, but was closely followed by Cleveland’s Steven Kwan at 28% and Baltimore’s Anthony Santander at 26%. Houston’s Kyle Tucker had just 16%.

Judge is already in the starting lineup as the player with the most votes in the first phase of the American League. Soto is the other Yankees player who is aiming for a starting spot.

Given Soto’s performance this season, he’ll likely make the team as a reserve, but Soto would love to be a starter. He’s a three-time All-Star in the National League, including last season with San Diego as a reserve.

The second phase of voting continues through noon ET on Wednesday. The ballot is available online and on mobile devices at mlb.com/vote. Fans can only vote once per day. Reserve players and the pitching staff will be selected this weekend from a vote of the players and by the MLB office.

Each team must have at least one All-Star.

Some races are shaping up to be closer than others. At DH, for example, Houston’s Yordan Alvarez and Baltimore’s Ryan O’Hearn are within two percentage points of each other for the right to succeed Shohei Ohtani as the AL starter. Ohtani was the DH starter for three seasons and is likely to be the NL starter next month.

In fact, the Yankees’ AL East rival ranks high in voting for nearly every position.

Baltimore shortstop Gunnar Henderson has 67 percent of the votes at his position, giving him a 2-1 lead over Kansas City’s Bobby Witt Jr.

Baltimore catcher Adley Rutschman is in even better shape, with 72 percent of the vote against Kansas City’s Salvador Perez.

Baltimore first baseman Ryan Mountcastle trails Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr., as the Blue Jays star has 57 percent of the vote. Baltimore third baseman Jordan Westburg trails Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez, as the Guardians star has 59 percent of the vote.

The only position without an Orioles player in the running is second base, where Houston’s Jose Altuve leads Texas’ Marcus Semien with 56 percent of the vote.