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Kevin Youkilis is not on the official All-Star game ballot, but that doesn't mean the Red Sox are giving up hope just yet.

According to ESPN.com, the Sox want to put Youk's name on the ballot for the players only part, switching places with the usual designated hitter David Ortiz.

Here's the link:  http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2903072

Papi loves the idea.  "He was all for it," one Major League executive says.

And why not?  Youkilis is playing the best baseball he's ever played in the Majors.  He has fielded a good glove at first base, and steps in at third whenever Mike Lowell needs a day off.  And he hits anywhere in the lineup basically from the 1-6 slots.  And his hitting stats are probably going unrecognized throughout the league, aside from the die hard fans at Red Sox Nation.

Here are his stats.

He's hitting .338 after his latest 2 for 4 showing in Wednesday's loss to the Rockies.  The .338 clip is good for being in the top seven in the American League.  His .421 OBP is fourth in the AL.  He's also eighth in the AL in OPS at .944.

He also has 8 homers and 33 RBI.

Youkilis also got off to a fast start in the 2006 season campaign, and then faded in the second half of the season.  But this is a different Youk.  He was never in the .340 range last year.  And Youk still has his great eye at the plate, but will now go the other way with a tough pitch instead of waiting for a walk.  He has matured dramatically over this one-year stretch.

So I hope the American League players, and eventually the managers, do what's right and put Kevin Youkilis in the All-Star Game this July.  He's earned it.

And he's earned the recognition to at least be on the ballot next year.  I hope.

What do you guys think?

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