Orioles' J.J. Hardy takes top spot in All-Star balloting among AL shortstops

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy took the lead in the most recent round of All-Star Game fan balloting among American League shortstops, giving the Orioles leaders at three different positions.

Chris Davis maintained his lead among AL first basemen and center fielder Adam Jones leaped over Angels center fielder Mike Trout for the top spot among AL outfielders. A week ago, Hardy trailed Texas' Elvis Andrus by more than 10,000 votes, but in the most-recent votes released Saturday night by major league baseball, Hardy (1,231,843 votes) took a 185,958-vote lead over Andrus (1,045,885).

Hardy, who leads all AL shortstops with 13 home runs and 37 RBIs, can become just the third Orioles shortstop to be elected by fan vote to start the All-Star Game, joining Cal Ripken, Jr. (12 times from 1984-87, 89-96) and Miguel Tejada (2005). He can also become the first AL shortstop other the Derek Jeter to be voted in by the fans since Tejada in 2005.

Hardy made one previous All-Star appearance, back in 2007 with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Davis, who received 2,084,271 votes, and Jones (1,944,450 votes) aresecond and third among votes overall in the AL, trailing only Detroit's Miguel Cabrera (2,355,128).

Jones, who was No. 2 among AL outfielders last week, surpassed Trout by 4,964 votes. Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis (1,030,653) is now just outside the top three outfielders, trailing No. 3 Torii Hunter by 37,320 votes. The top three outfield vote-getters receive starting nods.

Catcher Matt Wieters (1,153,795) and third baseman Manny Machado (1,170,108) still rank second at their respective positions. Weiters trails Minnesota's Joe Mauer by 338,601 votes, while Machado is far behind Cabrera by 1,185,020votes.

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