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O's trio among All-Star hopefuls

O's trio among All-Star hopefuls

They're together on the leaderboard and on the All-Star ballot.

Baltimore's top three hitters -- Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis -- are nestled at the top of the league's charts in runs scored and in good shape at their respective positions in terms of All-Star balloting. If they hang on, that triumvirate can give the Orioles three All-Stars for the first time since 2005.

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Jones, who has gotten quite a bit of publicity for his breakout, is at or near the top of the American League's top 10 in batting average, runs, on-base percentage and slugging. The young outfielder ranks 12th after the first balloting update.

Markakis, who has established himself as one of the league's best two-way players, ranks fifth behind a quartet of veterans -- Boston's Jason Bay, Texas' Josh Hamilton and Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki and Ken Griffey Jr. -- in the outfield.

Roberts, the Orioles' leadoff man and second baseman, ranks fifth in balloting at second base. The two-time All-Star may be benefiting by playing with shortstop Cesar Izturis, who is making his own charge up the balloting. In total, all four players represent Baltimore's willingness to recraft its team through up-the-middle defense.

The Orioles have had just one All-Star in seven of the past eight seasons, but they had four players at the Midsummer Classic in 2005, including Roberts. Balloting will end at Camden Yards on June 18, giving the Baltimore audience a month to support their favorite players and a little bit longer to let their voice be heard with an online ballot.

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote at MLB.com.

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 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com.

The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International on July 14. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.

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

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