Balloting begins for your Tribe stars

Balloting begins for your Tribe stars

CLEVELAND -- The games have begun. Now let the voting begin.

Nine Indians players are on the 2010 All-Star Game ballot, which was unveiled Tuesday. Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites using the 2010 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Sprint until July 1 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

And, the Indians unveiled an additional reason for fans to vote online. Those who cast their ballots at Indians.com will be automatically entered to win a chance to play host to a group in a Progressive Field Dugout Suite for a game this season.

By successfully submitting a 2010 MLB All-Star Game Online Ballot vote, with the Indians selected as your "favorite" or "other favorite" club, you'll be entered into the sweepstakes. You may vote up to 20 or more times during the entry period and receive one vote for every entry transmitted. You'll also receive in your e-mail, after voting concludes, a special half-off discounted ticket to watch a Tribe game at Progressive Field.

Because the ballots were based on projected lineups, Russell Branyan's back rehab and subsequent season-opening stay on the disabled list were not taken into account. Branyan, who was set to be activated off the DL on Tuesday, is listed as the Indians' candidate at first base, while Matt LaPorta, who has served primarily as a first baseman so far, is listed as an outfielder. Rookie Michael Brantley, who opened the season as the Indians' starting left fielder and was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Monday, is not on the ballot.

The rest of the Indians' entries are no surprise. Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo are the other outfield entries, with Luis Valbuena at second base, Asdrubal Cabrera at short, Jhonny Peralta at third and Lou Marson at catcher.

Travis Hafner is also on the ballot, at designated hitter, as the game will be played in Anaheim's Angel Stadium. Three out of the past four Midsummer Classics were played in NL ballparks.

No one in the Indians' lineup is more deserving of All-Star attention than Choo of late, who was named AL Player of the Week on Monday after batting .579 (11-for-19) with five runs scored, three doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs in his past six games.

"If I play in the All-Star Game, I'm happy," Choo said. "If not, that's OK. I don't worry about that. Anybody can play good for one week or one month. I want to play good every week of every month. It's really, really early, but I want to finish strong."

Should Choo keep up his current pace, he's an easy choice for his first All-Star Game selection.

Starting rosters will be announced during the 2010 All-Star Game Selection Show on TBS on July 4. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2010 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint.

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 2010 All-Star Game MVP Vote Sponsored by Sprint.

The All-Star Game, to be played on July 13, 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.

Now that he's healthy and recovered from the elbow and abdominal issues that led to surgery last September, Sizemore is hoping to be back in the All-Star picture. He was selected to the AL roster each year from 2006-08.

None of the other Indians on the ballot have been selected to an All-Star Game thus far, though Choo and Cabrera are rising stars who will probably get strong consideration.

Branyan, coming off a career year in Seattle, was activated just in time to make his case on the field.

"Good deal," he said with a smile.

While online voting is encouraged, in-stadium voting will begin at Progressive Field on April 30 and run through June 13.

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