SEATTLE -- When it comes to hitting home runs and driving in runs, Mariners first baseman Richie Sexson ranks near the top among his positional colleagues in the American League.He leads all AL first basemen with 49 RBIs and ranks third in home runs with 14. Only Mark Teixeira of the Rangers (16) and White Sox first sacker Paul Konerko (15) have more. But with three weeks remaining in the All-Star voting period, and one week remaining for fans attending games at Safeco Field to vote, Sexson is fifth in the balloting. Surprisingly, Tino Martinez of the Yankees, batting .230 with 12 homers and 32 RBIs, is the leading vote-getter among first basemen. Martinez has 615,712, according to an update released Monday. Teixeira is second, Kevin Millar of Boston is third and Konerko is fourth. Sexson has received 262,366 votes.
"I don't know of another first baseman having a better year than Richie," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. "We're one-third of the way through the season and he's on pace to hit 42 home runs and drive in about 150 runs. I would take that."The Mariners have played a majority of their games on the road during the voting process, and that has been a factor in the number of votes he has received. The good news is that the Mariners are home for the next nine games. The not-as-good news is that stadium balloting period ends next Monday after the Mariners play the AL West rival Athletics in the first game of a four-game series. Fans can cast their votes up to 25 times with the Ameriquest All-Star Online Ballot, which is available exclusively at MLB.com and all 30 club sites. Online balloting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on June 30. From July 3-6, fans will once again be able to participate in the Ameriquest All-Star Final Vote, which determines the final position player for each League's 32-man roster. Meanwhile, Sexson gladly would take another trip to an All-Star Game. "I haven't given it that much thought, but it's always cool to go," he said. "I think everyone should have an opportunity to go to at least one. It's a great experience." Sexson has been selected to two Midsummer Classics, going 0-for-1 in the 2002 game played at County Stadium in Milwaukee and the following year at U.S. Cellular Park in Chicago. He went 0-for-2 in that game. According to figures released by MLB, right fielder Ichiro Suzuki remains as the only Mariner listed among potential All-Star starters. Despite having a tough month (7-for-37 through Sunday), Ichiro remains second, about 36,000 votes behind Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez. Second baseman Bret Boone, who was fifth after the first two weeks of voting, dropped out of the top five while third baseman Adrian Beltre remained in fourth place behind Alex Rodriguez (Yankees), Bill Mueller (Red Sox) and Melvin Mora (Orioles). Ichiro was Seattle's only representative at the All-Star Game last year in Houston, but could have company this season. Closer Eddie Guardado, a two-time All-Star with the Twins (2002-03), has been practically automatic saving games this season. He went into the second week of June with 17 saves in 18 save opportunities.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.