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Published: Tuesday, 5/9/2006

Fans to get chance to pick stars

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Maxim St-Pierre strikes out during last night's Mud Hens game against the Norfolk Tides at Fifth Third Field. St-Pierre was 1-4 with an RBI in Toledo's 6-4 loss. Maxim St-Pierre strikes out during last night's Mud Hens game against the Norfolk Tides at Fifth Third Field. St-Pierre was 1-4 with an RBI in Toledo's 6-4 loss.
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A story on Minor League Baseball's Web site yesterday said fans will be given an opportunity to vote for players to compete in the 2006 Triple-A All-Star Game, which will be held at Toledo's Fifth Third Field on Wednesday, July 12.

The story indicated that the fan vote would be a first in the game's 19-year history. Previously media, managers, and front office personnel selected the individuals who played in the contest.

The story said fans will be given a three-week window to vote for one player for each of the eight positions on the field, starting pitchers and relievers, and a designated hitter.

International League president Randy Mobley confirmed last night that fans will be given a vote. The fan vote will account for one-third of the vote to select the all-stars, with media comprising another third, and both field manager and team executives comprising the final third.

Mobley said other details regarding the voting, including the starting date, will be announced at a later date.

"We have a new relationship with Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which hosts many of the league and individual club Web sites," Mobley said. "Because they have the technology, we are pleased to provide this opportunity to our fans."

Mud Hens general manager Joe Napoli thought the vote would increase the excitement fans would feel for the game.

"We are absolutely thrilled that fans will actually, for the first time ever, participate in the voting for the Triple-A all-stars," he said. "We think there's going to be a lot of participation, and we have very high expectations in terms of fan support for the balloting."

ROSTER MOVES: While the Mud Hens didn't make any moves yesterday, the team's roster may undergo changes in the next few days.

One change may be the addition of Alexis Gomez, whom the Tigers designated for assignment on Friday. Other major-league teams have 72 hours to claim Gomez, who was on the field before yesterday's game but was not allowed to be in uniform.

Gomez said if he is not claimed by today's deadline he will report to Toledo and be in uniform for tonight's game with Norfolk.

The other change may come in the pitching staff as the Tigers are considering sending RHP Jordan Tata back to the minor leagues to get consistent work. Before throwing three innings in Minnesota Sunday, the 24-year-old prospect had thrown just 21/3 innings since April 15, a span of three weeks.

Tata may not come to the Hens, though: he was expected to start Double-A Erie's season opener before the Tigers promoted him to Detroit to replace Todd Jones and may return to the SeaWolves.

Even though Tata may not come to Toledo, the Hens probably will provide Detroit with his replacement. The options include starters Zach Miner and Roman Colon or reliever Chris Spurling, who began the season with the Tigers.

THREE-DOT DATA: The Mud Hens gave Norfolk catcher Sandy Martinez his 2005 Governors' Cup championship ring before yesterday's game. Martinez hit .265 with five homers and 35 RBI in 81 games for Toledo last year. OF Ryan Ludwick went 0-for-3 with a walk last night to end his nine-game hit streak. Tides 1B Juan Tejeda played in the Detroit farm system for the past seven seasons. Last night he was 0-for-5 with an RBI before leaving the game.



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