Guillen trails slightly in Final Vote

Guillen trails slightly in Final Vote

KANSAS CITY -- Jose Guillen, despite big power numbers in his career, never has been selected for the All-Star Game. Now he has his chance.

Fans can put the Royals outfielder into the final roster spot for the American League squad in online voting conducted exclusively on MLB.com.

The opening 24 hours of balloting ended Monday afternoon and Tampa Bay rookie third baseman Evan Longoria leads a close race among the five AL candidates.

Guillen is fighting for the spot along with Longoria, outfielder Jermaine Dye of the Chicago White Sox, first baseman Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees and second baseman Brian Roberts of the Baltimore Orioles.

Guillen, among the AL leaders in RBIs, doubles and extra-base hits, is in his 12th Major League season. For the Royals this season, he's belted 13 home runs and knocked in 64 runs.

Royals manager Trey Hillman certainly endorses Guillen in this election.

"I think it speaks for itself," Hillman said. "I mean, especially as slow as he started the season and climbing all the way up to as high as .290. He's fallen off a little bit, but just the production he's been able to put up, plus the outfield defense when his legs are healthy and he's feeling good, [is impressive]. It would be great for us to have another representative."

Closer Joakim Soria was named to the team by AL manager Terry Francona and, so far, is the only Royal on the squad.

More than 11 million votes were cast in the first 24 hours, a record for the first day of voting and an increase of 115 percent over the same time period last year.

Now in its seventh year, the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote gives baseball fans around the world the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. Balloting began immediately following Sunday's Major League All-Star Selection Show presented by Chevy and continues until 4 p.m. CT on Thursday, July 10. The winners will be announced on MLB.com shortly thereafter.

There are two ways for fans to vote for the 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote -- online now at MLB.com, or on-the-go from their cell phones. Fans also can text the word "VOTE" to 36197 to have the All-Star Final Vote candidates sent to your phone. To vote for a specific player, simply reply with your choice. In Canada, fans should text the word "VOTE" to 88555. Standard rate text messaging rates apply -- please check with your mobile carrier for details.

The fun doesn't end there, however. Fans, having already decided the starters and final player on each team, once again will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet via the Monster 2008 All-Star Game MVP Vote on MLB.com during the All-Star Game.

The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. CT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.

On the National League side of the Final Vote, Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers holds a small lead over the other four players on the ballot for the final roster spot, followed closely by David Wright of the New York Mets, Pat Burrell of the Philadelphia Phillies, Aaron Rowand of the San Francisco Giants and Carlos Lee of the Houston Astros.

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