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Helms has viral infection; Hanley leads All-Star voting

When Wes Helms woke up Monday morning he was expecting to still feel sick and achy. But what he wasn't ready for was the absolute lack of strength in his body. When he tried to pick up his daughter, he simply couldn't.

Alarmed by the sudden loss in strength, he called Marlins trainer Sean Cunningham. By 9 a.m., he was at the doctor's office, having blood drawn. Now he knows what's been ailing him since last Friday night.

"It’s a viral infection that has taken over my joints and my muscles," Helms said. "The doctor's aren't sure why I got it. But they're treating it and I should be good to go in a few days."

Helms hasn't played since he went 1 for 4 Friday against the Mets. He said he won't be available Monday, but expects to be able to pinch hit at the very least by Tuesday.

"Being in New York with the swine flu it scared me," Helms said. "In New York they thought it was a flu bug. It just shows you sometimes you need a few days to find out what you got."

> Hanley Ramirez still isn't 100 percent, but in the eyes of voters he should be the starting shortstop in the All-Star game again.

After falling behind the Brewers J.J. Hardy in the first week of voting, Ramirez moved up into the top spot this week with 586,300 votes, 16,661 more than the Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins and 85,730 more than the Hardy. The Mets’ Jose Reyes and Houston’s Miguel Tejada round out the top five.

If Hanley starts in the All-Star game July 14 in St. Louis, it would mark only the third time in franchise history a Marlins player cracks the starting lineup. Ramirez did it last year. Gary Sheffield earned the other spot at third base in 1993.

As for his tight right groin, Gonzalez said Ramirez is improving. But he also said there's a chance Ramirez may have to deal with the injury the rest of the season.

“He really is about 80 percent," Gonzalez said. "He’s running better than I thought he was. He was able to catch ground balls and move. Saturday he had a tough time doing that. But he’s getting better. He may not even be 100 percent the rest of the year. But he’s playing through it and as long as he plays within himself, he’ll be ok."

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