First 2024 MLB All-Star voting update reveals Cubs position players have hill to climb

Major League Baseball’s first update on All-Star Game voting made it clear that Cubs position players have a hill to climb.

Fan votes, submitted in two phases, determine the starters for the Midsummer Classic, which is set for July 16 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. And the initial returns, which MLB announced Monday, weren’t promising for the Cubs. Considering the prolonged slump the offense has been stuck in, it’s not particularly surprising.

Center fielder Cody Bellinger led the team with 352,565 votes at the first checkpoint, which put him at No. 8 among National League outfielders, two slots below the cutoff for a Phase 2 berth. Phase 1 voting ends June 27.

While the top six outfielders in each league advance, only the top two in every other position group move on. And the Cubs don’t have another player higher than No. 9 in his respective position group.

After Bellinger, right fielder Seiya Suzuki (178,872) was the next-highest vote-getter, No.  12 among NL outfielders. He was followed by third baseman Christopher Morel (102,119, No. 9), shortstop Dansby Swanson (75,061, No. 9) and second baseman Nico Hoerner (70,789, No. 9).

All-Star pitchers and reserves are decided through player ballots and commissioner’s-office selections.

Left-hander Shota Imanaga, who entered Monday with the third-best ERA (1.89) among qualified pitchers, is on track to earn a bid. Right-hander Javier Assad (2.75 ERA), who allowed one run and five hits and struck out seven in five innings Monday against the Giants and was right behind Imanaga among NL ERA leaders entering the game, could make a push.

Every team gets at least one All-Star selection. Voting is available online at

Gathering doctors’ opinions

The Cubs are still gathering doctors’ opinions on right-hander Ben Brown’s neck injury, looking for a consensus. Brown saw a local specialist Monday, president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said.

Manager Craig Counsell said Friday that Brown was diagnosed with a stress reaction, but the Cubs were still determining what that would mean for his recovery.

“Not one that was particularly straightforward,” Hoyer said of the injury, “and, as a result, just trying to get the best information.”

Right-hander Daniel Palencia, who was hurt in his first appearance with Triple-A Iowa after being activated from the 15-day injured list and optioned, also is seeking a definitive diagnosis for his injury.

The Cubs aren’t sure whether it’s the same injury — a strained right shoulder — that landed him on the injured list in early May or something new.

Almonte progressing

Reliever Yency Almonte (strained right shoulder) is set to throw a live batting-practice session Tuesday at Wrigley Field. It’ll be his second live BP.

If all goes well, pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said late last week, the next step for Almonte likely will be a rehab assignment.

Almonte was among the Cubs’ high-leverage options before he landed on the injured list in early May.

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