Fukudome, Braun vie for final All-Star spot

NEW YORK (TICKER) Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Braun are in a tight race for the final outfield spot in the latest National League balloting for the All-Star Game, released Monday.

Fukudome of the Chicago Cubs leads Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers by just 32,925 votes with one week left in the voting. Chicago’s Alfonso Soriano and Ken Griffey Jr. of the Cincinnati Reds are first and second in the outfield voting, respectively.

The only other tight race in the balloting is at the shortstop position where Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins leads the Houston AstrosMiguel Tejada by 168,635 votes.

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley continues to be the top vote-getter for the NL with 2,645,027 - which is over 1.5 million more than Mark DeRosa of the Cubs at that position.

Cubs rookie catcher Geovany Soto holds a comfortable lead at his position as does Astros first baseman Lance Berkman. Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves appears to be headed for his first All-Star appearance since 2001 with a huge lead at the third base position.

The 79th All-Star Game will be played at Yankee Stadium on July 15, with the All-Star teams being announced July 6.

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Updated Monday, Jun 30, 2008