The unveiling of the 2012 All-Star Game ballot and the beginning of voting for the 83rd Midsummer Classic could not be better timed for the Pirates, who are getting hot after a cold start that might have chilled voters. A trio of players on the ballot -- 2011 All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen, second baseman Neil Walker and first baseman Garrett Jones -- have begun swinging heavy bats and merit fan support. One of the Bucs' most prominent performers, however, does not appear, making him an early candidate for the annual All-Star Game Final Vote: Casey McGehee, who has hit whether playing first or third.
Appearing at third base is Pedro Alvarez, a high-profile prospect still working to overcome his own slow getaway. Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or with a mobile device -- using the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, June 28, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Balloting at PNC Park will begin on Tuesday and run through June 10. Fans can also once again take part in the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league whom they would most like to see participate. The 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the U.S. beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 9. The 2012 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on Sunday, July 1, on the 2012 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team through the 2012 All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com. And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com with the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy. The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday, July 10. Visit MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities. The game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg. Other Pirates on the ballot are left fielder Alex Presley, right fielder Jose Tabata, shortstop Clint Barmes and catcher Rod Barajas. The Pirates had three selections for last summer's game -- Kevin Correia, Joel Hanrahan and McCutchen. It was the most for the club in 21 years, as three Bucs also participated in the 1991 Midsummer Classic.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.