ANAHEIM -- New league -- same All-Star status?
That's what fans will decide regarding the Angels and their new slugger, Albert Pujols, who made nine trips to the All-Star Game through his 11-year tenure with the Cardinals and is now one of nine Angels players on the ballot for the American League.
Online balloting for the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City -- where the Angels' $240 million first baseman attended high school -- launched Friday, with Pujols leading an Angels group that featured five players vying for their first trip to the Midsummer Classic. His teammates on the ballot are: new catcher Chris Iannetta, second baseman Howie Kendrick, slugger Mark Trumbo (listed as a third baseman), shortstop Erick Aybar, outfielders Torii Hunter, Peter Bourjos and Vernon Wells, and designated hitter Kendrys Morales.
Morales has never been an All-Star but did finish fifth in AL MVP voting in 2009 and is back healthy from a surgically repaired left ankle that caused him to miss the last 1 1/2 season.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or via your mobile device -- using the 2012 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot until Thursday, June 28, at 8:59 p.m. PT.
Fans can also once again participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby Fan Poll, where they'll have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby. 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 United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 9.
The 2012 National League and AL 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 via the 2012 All-Star Game Final Vote on MLB.com.
The final phase of All-Star Game voting 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 via 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.
MLB.com will have extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 83rd All-Star Game -- to be played Tuesday, July 10, at Kauffman Stadium -- 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 also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, visit allstargame.com or royals.com/asg.
Angel Stadium balloting will run April 30 to June 17.
Aybar, Trumbo, Iannetta, Morales and Bourjos have never been selected to the All-Star Game. Kendrick is looking to make it for the second straight year, while Wells has already gone twice and Hunter has been picked four times.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.