Morneau looking for first All-Star bid
Reigning AL MVP leads Twins' cast of candidates
It was during a trip to Seattle last June that Justin Morneau sat down with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and talked about what it would take for the first baseman to rebound from another rough start. That meeting sparked what became a remarkable final four months of the season for Morneau. From June 8 on, Morneau led the league with a .362 batting average, had the most hits in baseball (145) and picked up the most RBIs in the American League (92).Still, Morneau's turnaround did not come quickly enough to earn a selection to the 2006 All-Star Game. And Morneau completed the unusual feat of earning AL Most Valuable Player honors without playing in that season's Midsummer Classic. But with four home runs and 10 RBIs through his first 12 games in '07, Morneau looks like he could be on his way to earning an All-Star bid this season. Morneau is one of eight Twins named to the 2007 All-Star Ballot. Joining Morneau on this year's ballot are second baseman Luis Castillo, shortstop Jason Bartlett, third baseman Nick Punto, catcher Joe Mauer and outfielders Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and Rondell White. Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2007 All-Star Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until June 28 at 10:59 p.m. CT. Of the Twins on this year's ballot, only Mauer, Castillo, White and Hunter have earned trips to the prestigious event in previous seasons. Mauer earned his first invitation last year amidst his run at the batting title. Castillo was a three-time All-Star selection during his time with the Marlins, Hunter made his lone appearance in 2002 and White was elected to the National League squad in 2003 with the Padres. Fans around the world will again have the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team via the Monster 2007 All-Star Final Vote. The vote will begin immediately following the 2007 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show Presented by Chevrolet, which will be televised by Turner Sports on Sunday, July 1. Last year, Twins starter Francisco Liriano was one of the American League's Final Vote candidates, but he finished second behind White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
Selecting the rosters isn't the end of the fun in 2007, either. Concluding the All-Star balloting process, fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the Monster.com 2007 All-Star Game MVP Vote at MLB.com.This year's Midsummer Classic will take place on July 10 at San Francisco's AT&T Park. The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage and MLB Radio will have exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.