Martin to Start 2007 Star Game

Dodger catcher Russell Martin will start the 78th annual All-Star Game in San Francisco on July 10. Martin, who will be playing in the Midsummer Classic for the first time, ended up besting Mets' catcher Paul Lo Duca by more than 250,000 votes in the fan voting. He is the first Canadian catcher to be chosen in All-Star history.

In just his second big league season, Martin leads all NL catchers in hits (83), RBI (53), runs (46), walks (31), stolen bases (15), on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

Teammates joining Martin, who received 2,039,130 votes, will be two-time All-Star pitcher Brad Penny and Dodger closer Takashi Saito, who will be making his first career All-Star appearance.

Penny leads the National League in wins (10) and the Major Leagues in ERA (2.00), while Saito's 22 saves rank fourth in the National League.

Saito is the sixth native of Japan to appear in an Al-Star Game, joining Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Hideki Matsui, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Ichiro Suzuki and former Dodger Hideo Nomo, who was the first.

Ken Griffey will be a part of a veteran National League outfield, joined by Carlos Beltran (2,511,242) of the New York Mets and Barry Bonds (2,325,391) of the hometown San Francisco Giants. Bonds overtook Alfonso Soriano (2,202,513) of the Chicago Cubs in the final phase of balloting.

For the second straight year, Beltran will start in the Midsummer Classic alongside Mets teammates Jose Reyes (2,213,606) and David Wright (2,302,836). Like Reyes and Wright, Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (2,112,142) has been elected by fans for a second consecutive year.

Newcomers to Tony La Russa's National League All-Star squad who will start will be Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, whose 2,706,020 votes trailed only Griffey and Martin.

Eight reserves and eight pitchers have been named the National League All-Star rosters, announced today by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, and All-Star managers Tony La Russa of the National League and Jim Leyland of the American League have each named four position players and three pitchers who will take part in the game.

In addition to the starters who were elected by the fans, players were named to the All-Star Game rosters by the Player Ballot – a vote of the players, managers and coaches – and by the All-Star Game managers in conjunction with Major League Baseball.

Players making the National League All-Star Team as a result of the Player Ballot are catcher Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves; first baseman Derrek Lee of the Chicago Cubs; second baseman Orlando Hudson of the Arizona Diamondbacks; third baseman Miguel Cabrera of the Florida Marlins; shortstop J.J. Hardy of the Milwaukee Brewers; and outfielders Matt Holliday of the Colorado Rockies, Carlos Lee of the Houston Astros and Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs.

Pitchers making the team include starters Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies, Jake Peavy of the San Diego Padres, Brad Penny of the Dodgers, Ben Sheets of the Brewers and John Smoltz of the Braves; and relievers Francisco Cordero of the Brewers, Brian Fuentes of the Rockies and Trevor Hoffman of the Padres.

Other N.L. All-Stars, as named by La Russa in conjunction with Major League Baseball, are first basemen Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals and Dmitri Young of the Washington Nationals; second baseman Freddy Sanchez of the Pittsburgh Pirates; outfielder Aaron Rowand of the Phillies; and pitchers Takashi Saito of the Dodgers, Jose Valverde of the Diamondbacks and Billy Wagner of the New York Mets.

For the fifth consecutive year, the outcome of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game will have an impact on postseason play, as the winning League in this year's All-Star Game will have home-field advantage in the 2007 World Series.