United Nation

Red Sox Nation has spoken. Boston players lead in fan voting for the All-Star Game at five starting positions as of yesterday, according to MLB.com. A little over a month remains until balloting ends. Which means if you're a Red Sox hater, get on the Internet and vote up to a permitted 25 times for the players who deserve a starting spot. And no Yankees, please. The Bombers have leaders at two positions.

What's a Joe Mauer to do? The Minnesota Twins catcher, by the way, is in third, two places behind Boston's Jason Varitek. Here are the other leaders: first base, Kevin Youkilis, Boston; second base, Dustin Pedroia, Boston; third base, Alex Rodriguez, New York; shortstop, Derek Jeter, New York; designated hitter, David Ortiz, Boston; outfield, Manny Ramirez, Boston. (Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki and Los Angeles' Vladimir Guerrero would fill out the remaining two starting outfield spots.)

Updates on National League voting will be released today.

Speed pacer

Commissioner Bud Selig's edict that umpires should enforce rules to quicken the pace of play has rankled some players, most notably Boston's David Ortiz. Selig is worried that the three hours-plus it takes to complete a game has turned off fans, especially the younger ones who have the attention spans of a fly. Ortiz thinks that the pace is fine and that hurrying batters who often step out of the box or fiddle to get comfortable will disrupt a batter's routine.

Both sides have fair points, but something obviously needs to be done. The almighty dollar has the final say in this situation, and we all know how that goes. The number of commercials in between innings will not be cut and 15 pitching warm-ups brought to you by Beer Light will not be curtailed. The problem, however, is more of one for the fan at home than the one at the game. Over the last decade, baseball has gone out of its way to make sure a night at the ball yard has less and less to do with the actual game. Stroll through Ashburn Alley one evening and ask any young adult with a beer the score of the game. It could take three hours to get a correct response.

Posada back soon?

Yankees catcher Jorge Posada's rehab continued yesterday as he went 3 for 6 with a double in his second extended-spring game, the Associated Press reported. Posada is recovering from a sore right shoulder. He hopes to rejoin the Yankees by Tuesday. Four of his at-bats yesterday came against the Phillies' Kris Benson, who is rehabbing a strained groin. No word on whether his wife, Anna, was in attendance.

Mellow Mariners

The Mariners are being asked the age-old baseball question about whether they need an in-your-face type leader as the team plummets further down the standings. Seattle, 18-34 entering last night's game, had the worst mark in the majors. Team ownership recently said general manager Bill Bavasi's job was safe and Bavasi has not faulted manager John McLaren. Which leaves the players. Of course, the team is split on whether it needs a vocal leader. "When something goes wrong, we need players to grab [other] players by the throat to say, 'That's not what we do here,' " Bavasi said to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Sounds like a job for Darren Daulton! At least until the end of the world happens on Dec. 21, 2012.


The Detroit Tigers placed Gary Sheffield on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique strain on his left side.