Several Cards have All-Star aspirations
Three Redbirds lead balloting for starting spot
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals already know they'll have significant representation in the dugout at this summer's All-Star Game: Manager Tony La Russa will skipper the visiting squad as a reward for winning the pennant last fall. But if the voting continues the way it's going, La Russa may have an army of familiar players to put on his lineup card.
Every St. Louis regular is in the top five (or, for outfielders, top 15) in balloting at his position, with the first round of results announced on Wednesday.
First baseman Albert Pujols, center fielder Jim Edmonds and third baseman Scott Rolen would all be starters if the voting ended today, with Pujols and Rolen leading at their respective positions and Edmonds ranking second among outfielders to the Mets' Carlos Beltran.
Pujols has received 748,844 votes and leads the Cubs' Derrek Lee by more than 300,000. Rolen (539,087) holds a lead over the Braves' Chipper Jones, and Edmonds has been tabbed on 546,739 ballots.
Fans can vote now at MLB.com and at StLCardinals.com, as well as in Major League ballparks. Online balloting runs through June 30, with the 2005 All-Stars being announced on July 3.
It would be appropriate for each member of the St. Louis trio to start, as the three sluggers finished in the top 5 in MVP balloting last season. Pujols is a three-time All-Star at three different positions; he'll be going for his first repeat performance at a position this year. Rolen has represented the National League in each of the past three seasons, while Edmonds is also a three-time All-Star.
Three Cardinals were starters in 2004 in Houston, with Pujols and Rolen being joined by Edgar Renteria -- now with the Boston Red Sox. Rolen was the NL's leading vote-getter in 2004, and Pujols led the league in '03.
Catcher Yadier Molina stands fourth at his position (208,480 votes), with Mike Piazza leading the pack. Larry Walker is close on the heels in the outfield, ranking sixth with 302,627 votes, while Reggie Sanders is 13th (183,288 votes). Mark Grudzielanek (274,467 votes) ranks third among second basemen, trailing Jeff Kent and Craig Biggio, while David Eckstein (295,955 votes) is behind only Nomar Garciaparra at shortstop.
Walker (five times), Sanders (once) and Grudzielanek (once) have all been All-Stars. Molina and Eckstein have never been selected to the Midsummer Classic.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.