|Monday, June 25
Updated: June 27, 5:07 PM ET
Bell says Ripken can start if he wants
ESPN.com news services
If Cal Ripken is going to go out as an All-Star starter, he has some ground to make up.
Seattle's David Bell has taken a narrow lead over Anaheim's Troy Glaus (last year's AL home run champ) and Ripken (future Hall of Famer who is retiring at the end of the season) in the latest All-Star balloting.
Bell, however, said he would yield the starting third-base assignment if asked to do so by Ripken.
"I don't know if I'm in a position to do that," Bell told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "But if Cal asked me to do that, I would. I'm a big fan of his."
Ichiro maintains his lead as the AL's top vote-getter with 1,734,905 votes.
Bell, with 612,665 votes, has passed both Glaus (579,416) and Ripken (558,336), heading into the final week of voting. For the season, Bell is hitting .250 with seven home runs and 34 RBI and is vying for his first trip to the All-Star game, which will be played July 10 at Seattle's Safeco Field.
Other American League position leaders are shortstop Alex Rodriguez (764,139) and catcher Ivan Rodriguez (1,204,132) of the Texas Rangers; and outfielders Manny Ramirez (1,062,582) of the Boston Red Sox and Juan Gonzalez (786,544) of the Cleveland Indians.