Rob Manfred willing to see how fan voting turns out before worrying

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday it's too early to be worried about results of fan voting for next month's All-Star Game but noted his office is open for change if the system proves flawed.

The latest updated voting totals in the American League, released Monday, have eight players from the Kansas City Royals in line to start the July 14 game in Cincinnati. The NL voting totals, released Tuesday, have Nori Aoki of the San Francisco Giants third among outfielders, ahead of home run and RBIs leader Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins. Aoki was a member of the Royals last season.

"We have 16 days left. Lots of years we've worried about lots of things in respect to fan voting but in general over time fans have done a pretty good job, so we'll see how it all turns out," Manfred said at Fenway Park, where he attended Tuesday's game between the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox. "What I would say is I hope over time that what people come to think about the commissioner's office is when we have a situation such as this -- this is one example -- that we are responsive and open to change if in fact it appears we get a result that is not consistent with the goals of the system that is currently in place."

The debate over just how much say the fans should have has increased in recent weeks with Royals players dominating the balloting. If eight players get voted in, that would be a record for one team.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout would be the only non-Royals player to start for the AL team if current voting totals hold. Among the Royals in line to crack the lineup at Great American Ball Park: second baseman Omar Infante, shortstop Alcides Escobar, designated hitter Kendrys Morales and outfielder Lorenzo Cain.

Voting runs through July 2.

Kansas City manager Ned Yost said earlier this week that the solution is simple: If fans don't like the results, get out there and vote.

"There's nothing wrong," Yost told USA Today Sports. "Vote! The votes are the votes. If you don't like it, go out there and vote. Our fans have gotten out and voted. Does seven starters surprise you? Yeah. But once you sit back and think about it, it's really not that surprising."

Also Tuesday, in speaking about ballpark safety, Manfred said management can order expanded netting for protection for fans without bargaining over the matter with the players' association.

A fan at Fenway Park was injured and hospitalized after she was struck by a broken bat in seats along the third-base line on June 5. MLB is studying whether netting should be expanded.

Information from's Gordon Edes and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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