AL All-Star voting update: Derek Jeter still has a battle on his hands at shortstop

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There aren’t any changes in the American League All-Star balloting from last week, but tonight’s update shows that there are still a few positions up for grabs.

The most high-profile one is at shortstop, where Derek Jeter holds a slim lead over Alexei Ramirez. Ramirez obviously has a strong case based on his half-season stats — he’s having a wonderful year — but Jeter still figures to pull away in his final season. It’s just taking a little longer than you’d expect.

Jose Bautista, the AL’s leading vote-getter, and Mike Trout are in fine position to start in the outfield, but the third spot is still wide open. Melky Cabrera leads the way while Yoenis Cespedes, Adam Jones, and Jacoby Ellsbury aren’t too far behind. Second base and the DH spot are also still pretty competitive.

It’s worth noting that Matt Wieters, who will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery tomorrow, still has the lead at the catcher position. Brian McCann ranks second and Derek Norris is in third. Check out the full update below:

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Adrian Gonzalez might retire after his contract is up if his back isn’t any better

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Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:

“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.

“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”

Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.