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Damon in line for starting All-Star spot

Red Sox outfielder surpasses Ichiro in fan voting

Johnny Damon owes Red Sox Nation thanks.

Red Sox fans’ rush to MLB.com for All-Star voting has resulted in Damon surpassing the Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki for the last starting outfield spot for the American League team in the All-Star Game, which will be played July 12 at Comerica Park in Detroit.

Both the American and National Leagues' starting lineups are selected by fans over the course of the first half of the season. There’s still time to cast your vote at MLB.com until midnight tonight.

According to MLB.com, Damon -- who trailed Ichiro by 13,850 votes Monday -- now leads the Mariners’ speedster by a whopping 126,556 votes. That would appear to make him a lock for the starting spot, though Ichiro gets strong online support from his fan base in Japan.

If the numbers hold up, Damon will likely join catcher Jason Varitek, designated hitter David Ortiz and outfielder Manny Ramirez as Red Sox All-Star starters. Matt Clement will certainly be considered for the starting pitcher’s spot as well.

Damon’s only other All-Star appearance was in 2002, his first year with the Red Sox. He’s currently hitting .339 with three homers and 41 RBIs.

Sox manager Terry Francona (who will manage the American League squad by virtue of Boston's World Series victory) will choose the pitchers and All-Star reserves, which will be announced Sunday night.

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