Hanley regains post atop NL at short

Hanley regains post atop NL at short

MIAMI -- After two weeks of playing catchup, Hanley Ramirez is back in the lead.

The question is can the Marlins 25-year-old shortstop hold on until the voting concludes?

Ramirez has overtaken Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins for the top spot in the National League All-Star balloting. The race has been close throughout, and promises to remain that way. Rollins is now second in the balloting, followed by Milwaukee's J.J. Hardy, Houston's Miguel Tejada and New York's Jose Reyes.

Statistically, Ramirez and Tejada are enjoying the best seasons of any NL shortstops. Tejada has the slightly higher batting average, while Ramirez is first at his position in on-base and slugging percentages.

If Ramirez can secure first place in the voting, he will become the first Marlins player to be voted in twice as a starter. In 2008, the dynamic Marlins shortstop was the fans' choice. The only other Marlins player voted in by the fans was Gary Sheffied in 1993.

The Marlins are home at Land Shark Stadium, and fans can cast their votes at the stadium.

Fans can vote for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com.

And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com.

The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.

The All-Star Game is set for July 14 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Ramirez certainly is All-Star worthy based on his impressive first half. A leadoff hitter his first three seasons in the big leagues, the 25-year-old now is producing big numbers from the No. 3 spot.

Dan Uggla has moved into fifth place at second base.

Uggla is a two time All-Star, making the squad as a rookie in 2006 and in '08. Uggla's power numbers are high, even though his batting average is down. Last Thursday, Uggla belted a crucial home run over the Green Monster in Boston in a 2-1 rain-shortened victory. In his career, Uggla has homered in 20 different stadiums.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.