Designated hitter Nelson Cruz and injured catcher Matt Wieters still lead their respective positions in American League All-Star Game voting, according to fan voting results released by Major League Baseball on Monday afternoon.
Wieters, who underwent season-ending elbow ligament reconstruction surgery earlier this month and hasn’t played since May 10, has been in first place since the first updates were released. But Oakland Athletics catcher Derek Norris is closing the gap (2,103,385 votes to 1,924,049).
Center fielder Adam Jones ranks fifth among outfielders, though he’s close to cracking into the top three at the position, which would secure a starting role in the All-Star Game. Jones has 1,853,268 votes, while Yoenis Cespedes of the Athletics — who is currently third — has 1,941,553.
Right fielder Nick Markakis, who has never made an All-Star team, is in eighth place for outfielders with 1,382,329 votes. Meanwhile, shortstop J.J. Hardy is in third place for his position, but he trails the New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter by nearly 1.5 million votes.
Chris Davis is third among first basemen with 1,292,412 votes, and third baseman Manny Machado is fourth at his position with 1,409,804 votes.
In-stadium voting has ended, but fans can cast ballots online until July 3 at 11:59 p.m. The highest vote-getter at each fielding position and designated hitter will start for the AL in the All-Star Game on July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis. The All-Star teams will be announced Sunday at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
Before Monday’s game, the Orioles selected the contract of right-hander Ramon Ramirez from Triple-A Norfolk to provide relief to a bullpen stretched thin by Friday’s doubleheader and consecutive short outings by starting pitchers.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he was comfortable calling up another pitcher even though Machado’s suspension left the club with Davis, the team’s regular first baseman, starting at third base in Monday’s series opener against the Texas Rangers at Camden Yards.
“I don’t know if content is the word, but we don’t have any choice,” Showalter said.
Ramirez, 32, has thrown eight innings in five games as a reliever for the Tides this year. He has allowed five hits and no runs in that span while striking out 14 batters and walking none.
Ramirez has pitched for five different teams in the major leagues since his debut in 2006. Most recently, he made six relief appearances for the San Francisco Giants in 2013. In 2011, Ramirez had a 2.62 ERA in 66 appearances with the Giants.
To make room for Ramirez, the Orioles optioned right-hander Evan Meek to Norfolk. Meek threw an inning and took the loss in Sunday’s 12-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Around the horn
The Orioles held a moment of silence for former general manager Frank Cashen, who died Monday at age 88. … Monday’s announced attendance of 15,252 is the lowest of the year so far at Camden Yards. The previous low was the first game of Friday's doubleheader (15,614). ... Left-hander T.J. McFarland likely will make a spot start Tuesday against the Rangers, unless the Orioles need him to pitch Monday, Showalter said. Right-hander Chris Tillman then will start Wednesday and left-hander Wei-Yin Chen on Thursday. … Infielder Michael Almanzar, the club’s Rule 5 draft pick in December, was designated for assignment Monday. Eventually, he must be offered back to the Red Sox for half the original sale price of $50,000, but each of the other 28 major league teams can first attempt to claim him and put him on its 25-man roster. He had been on the 60-day disabled list with left knee tendinitis.