N.L. All-Star Fans Vote for Manny

As expected, Albert Pujols is the early leader in voting for the National League All-Star team. Milwaukee is voting heavily for their own players and, surprise, Manny Ramirez is solidly in the voting for the left field slot in the 80th mid-summer classic on July 14 in St. Louis.

Pujols' total of 842,058 votes is about 167,000 more than anyone else has yet tallied in the league, and is nearly double the number recorded by the first-base runner-up, Milwaukee's Cecil Fielder (427,284).

Two Brewers are leading at their positions, according to the first weekly update on balloting for the 2009 All-Star Game and six of their teammates are running second at their positions.

And despite the suspension, Ramirez is very much in contention for his first NL start. This is remarkable, since the laid-back Dodgers voters don't usually get going until late in the balloting.

By position, here are the leaders:

First Base Albert Pujols, St. Louis.

Second baseChase Utley, who is second among all players with 675,596 votes.

Shortstop Milwaukee's J.J. Hardy (403,269) has a slim lead over the Marlins' Hanley Ramirez (365,746) tin the tightest race.

Third Base David Wright, a three-time All-Star, has 454,449 votes.

Catcher Cardinal Yadier Molina, with 451,368 votes is the Cardinals' second leader.

Outfield Milwaukee's Ryan Braun leads everyone with 663,164 votes, with the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano (545,354) and the Mets' Carlos Beltran (476,843) in second and third.

The second trio is Ramirez (442,763), the Brewers' Mike Cameron (432,034) and Raul Ibanez (399,969) of the Phillies.

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Clock ticking on Peavey
Jake Peavey said he will waive his no-trade for the Cubs or the Dodgers, but there are many who think that if the Padres can't move his contract very soon, perhaps within a week or two, teams will begin offloading salaries, and at that point they might as well keep the right hander.

The Padres don't want to hand Peavy, and a probably the National League pennant, to their neighbors to the North whose name the Padres don't want to talk about.

That leaves the Cubs, who have been Peavy's top choice all along.

The Padres' horrible financial situation precipitated talks with the White Sox, and Peavey vetoed the deal because he wants to stay in the National League.

Peavy agent Barry Axelrod didn't exactly say it, but you get the feeling that if the Padres don't make a move fast he's going to tell them to forget about dealing Peavy. "If something's going to happen, we'd like it soon so Jake can get on with his life," he said.

The clock is ticking and the Cubs have a brief window right now to get a Jake Peavy deal done.

Boston Expected to Move Penny
The Boston Glove reports that the Red Sox are eligible to deal Brad Penny any time after June 15 and the July 31 trading deadline.

He isn't available for a backup shortstop but they won't can't get a premier hitter for him, either.

The Globe mentions that "Penny had developed a less-than-stellar reputation with some members of the Dodgers' brass and some teammates for what was perceived as a poor work ethic; but Penny wanted out of Los Angeles."

He is on a one-year contract with Boston for a $5 million base salary and at 31, he is hoping to use this season to get a multiyear deal.

Dodger Blue Notes --In the opening game of the Colorado series, the Dodgers batted around twice in the same game for the first time since doing so on April 30, 2008 at Florida. It was also the first time since 1945 that the Dodgers had two innings that featured seven or more hits. The Dodger record for hits in an inning is 10, which they last reached on May 27, 1990 at St. Louis. Dave Smith at retrosheet.org provided the info. ...First baseman James Loney is in the midst of a season-long eight-game hitting streak and yesterday continued to punish pitchers at Coors Field with three more hits. In his career, Loney is hitting .376 (32-for-85) with 30 RBI in just 23 games at Coors Field. In four games this season, Loney is 10-for-16 (.625) with four doubles and three RBI in the Mile High City. Third baseman Casey Blake stayed hot, going 2-for-6 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored. Blake has reached base safely in 10 of his last 16 plate appearances. Since May 10 (12 games), Blake is second in the Major Leagues with a .457 average (21-for-46) and first in the NL with an .826 slugging percentage, while also raising his average from .238 to .306. The Iowa native is hitting .370 (27-for-73) with seven doubles, four homers, 14 RBI, and a .672 slugging percentage during 21 May games. ...Second baseman Orlando Hudson went 2-for-5 extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games, which is also a Dodger season high and the fifth-longest in the NL this season. The last Dodger to have a hitting streak longer than 15 games was Matt Kemp, who hit in 19 consecutive games from July 9 to Aug. 1, 2008. During the stretch, Hudson is hitting .364 (24-for-66), and overall ranks eighth in the NL with a .344 batting average. The South Carolina native ranks in the top four in hits (65, T-1), doubles (16, T-2), runs (35, T-4th), and multi-hit games (20, 1st). Hudson is the only Dodger to start all of the club's 46 games and leads all NL second basemen with 404.2 innings played.  

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