KC's youngsters highlight All-Star ballot

KC's youngsters highlight All-Star ballot

KANSAS CITY -- Now that most of the Royals' young players have their spikes firmly planted in the ground, this might be the year they get All-Star Game recognition.

Make your picks, because online voting begins Tuesday and ballots will be distributed at Kauffman Stadium at home games from May 5 through June 24.

Nine Royals are on the ballot for the All-Star Game on July 15 at Yankee Stadium, and the young lions among them should stir increased voter recognition and Kansas City support in the balloting.

Outfielders David DeJesus and Mark Teahen and catcher John Buck have the most experience of the emerging stars.

Third baseman Alex Gordon, designated hitter Billy Butler and shortstop Tony Pena Jr. each are in their second year as Kansas City favorites.

Also on the ballot are three position players with more seniority -- outfielder Jose Guillen, second baseman Mark Grudzielanek and first baseman Ross Gload.

The 79th Midsummer Classic will be the fourth held at Yankee Stadium and the eighth in New York City. The Yankees previously hosted the All-Star Game in 1939, 1960 and 1977; the Polo Grounds held the game in 1934 and 1942; Ebbets Field was the site in 1949; and Shea Stadium hosted the 1964 game.

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2008 All-Star Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until Wednesday, July 2, at 10:59 p.m. CT.

Starting rosters will be announced during the 2008 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on Sunday, July 6. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the Monster 2008 All-Star Final Vote at MLB.com.

And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the Monster 2008 All-Star Game MVP vote at MLB.com.

Among the Royals only pitcher Gil Meche, selected as the Royals representative last year, and Grudzielanek, picked in 1996 as a shortstop with the Montreal Expos, have appeared in an All-Star Game.

The last Royals player to be voted onto the starting lineup was outfielder Jermaine Dye in 2000 at Atlanta.

Based on early season performances, DeJesus, Gordon and Butler could emerge as All-Star contenders. DeJesus had a hot .351 bat after overcoming injuries, Gordon was hitting a productive .290 with three homers and Butler led the club with 11 RBIs.

Through last weekend, Guillen and Gordon each had 10 RBIs and Gload had a .300 average.

The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.