Martin needs help in NL catcher voting
Dodgers backstop is fifth overall at last count
While the rest of the Dodgers' offense struggles, catcher Russell Martin keeps chugging along, which is why he is the lone Dodgers player ranking in the top five in voting at his position for the upcoming All-Star Game.
Martin, last year's starting catcher for the National League All-Star team, as well as the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award winner at the position, ranks fifth in voting, behind leader Geovany Soto of the Cubs, Brian McCann of the Braves, Yadier Molina of the Cardinals and Jason Kendall of the Brewers.
Martin leads the Dodgers in average, walks and on-base percentage. With Rafael Furcal sidelined indefinitely with a bad back, Martin figures to lead the team in runs scored. All of that is in addition to his defense and duties working with the pitching staff.
"He's pretty darn important for us, no question," said manager Joe Torre. "He does a lot of things to help us win. He catches, he hits, he runs the bases, and catchers usually don't have that ability. He has the ability to hit the ball to all fields. In that situation, the game doesn't speed up for him. He's had a lot of big at-bats for us."
The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game, being held at Yankee Stadium in its final season, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD, and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 5 p.m. PT. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
The Midsummer Classic will be the fourth held at Yankee Stadium and the eighth in New York City. The Yankees previously hosted the All-Star Game in 1939, 1960 and 1977; the Polo Grounds held the game in 1934 and 1942; Ebbets Field was the site in 1949; and Shea Stadium hosted the 1964 tilt.
Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until Wednesday, July 2 at 8:59 p.m. PT. Starting rosters will be announced during the 2008 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on Sunday, July 6. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the Monster 2008 All-Star Final Vote at MLB.com.
And the voting doesn't end there. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the official voting for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet at the All-Star Game via the Monster 2008 All-Star Game MVP vote at MLB.com.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.