Leyland makes final pitch for Avila
Tigers manager Jim Leyland has tried to stay out of the All-Star voting process. He thinks it comes down to a popularity contest and stuffing ballots. That said, he basically asked Tigers fans to do the same for his catcher.
“I’ve never really got into that, but I think it’s a no-brainer, and I hope that they do get behind him,” Leyland said. “It would be an absolute shame, in my opinion, if Alex Avila’s not on the All-Star team. That would be a shame. He deserves it, so I hope they stuff ballots, do whatever they want. I know I’m contradicting myself, but it would be a shame if he’s not on the team.”
Online balloting is the only way to vote now, and it ends tonight at 11:59 p.m. ET at MLB.com. The latest results as of Thursday afternoon suggest a late rally for Avila votes in recent hours, with close to 90 percent of votes over the last day going in his favor. If that holds, then it’s a question of how big the final-day vote is.