© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
CLEVELAND -- C.C. Sabathia's All-Star break plans were going to be the same, whether or not he was given the opportunity to represent the Indians on the American League team at San Francisco's AT&T Park on July 10.
Either way, Sabathia was going to be hanging out at his home in nearby Vallejo, Calif.
But now, Sabathia knows he can invite a couple friends over, too.
Sabathia, catcher Victor Martinez and center fielder Grady Sizemore were named to the AL All-Star team Sunday.
It is the second selection each for Martinez and Sizemore, and the third for Sabathia. Sabathia and Sizemore are headed to the game as selections by their peers, while Martinez is aboard as a choice of Jim Leyland, the manager of the AL squad.
"I'll try to get them out to the house," Sabathia said of his fellow Indians All-Stars. "I don't want to make anybody feel obligated, but it would be nice to get them out there at some point."
Given the way Sabathia's pitched this season, Leyland might feel obligated to make him the AL starter. The Tribe's ace entered Sunday as the only pitcher in baseball with 12 wins, and he also was leading the Major Leagues in innings pitched with 129 2/3.
Sabathia ranks third in the AL in strikeouts (116) and seventh in ERA at 3.20. He's the first Indians pitcher to win 12 games before July 1 since Gaylord Perry, back in 1974. Perry also was the Tribe's last 20-game winner, and Sabathia is on pace for 24 victories.
"I have C.C. on my side," Martinez said. "He leads the league in wins. To see what you're going to do [with regard to the start], you've got to go by the numbers. The numbers don't lie."
Nor do the eyes. And Leyland, whose other top candidates for the start likely will be his own Justin Verlander and Boston's Josh Beckett, will get an up-close look at Sabathia on Thursday in Detroit when Sabathia opposes Verlander in the finale of a three-game set.
"I'll get my chance to campaign in person," Sabathia said with a smile.
The Indians' efforts to campaign for their players in the fan voting came up short. Martinez finished fifth in the voting for AL catchers, and Sizemore finished seventh among AL outfielders.
Martinez's place in the voting was particularly peculiar, given the numbers he's compiled in the first half.
The knock on Martinez has been his inability to control the running game from behind the plate. He's answered the naysayers this season by throwing out 14 of 51 would-be basestealers, good for a percentage of 27.5, which is one of the best in the league.
Add those defensive skills with Martinez's offense, and you have one of the premier catchers in the game. While he's always been a consistent hitter for average, Martinez also has shown quite a bit of pop this year. He's batting .323 with 14 homers, 20 doubles and 63 RBIs. The RBI total was tied for fourth in the AL behind Alex Rodriguez (79), Vladimir Guerrero (72) and Magglio Ordonez (68), entering Sunday.
Martinez has seen those numbers, of course, but he paid no attention to the voting tallies.
"I don't worry about that," he said. "I'm real happy to go. If I wouldn't have gone, I would have spent time with my family and rested."
Those who don't go to the 78th All-Star Game, which will be held July 10 at San Francisco's AT&T Park, will be able to watch the national telecast on FOX Sports. In Canada, it will be shown on Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD, and around the world it will be broadcast by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
ESPN Radio will have exclusive national radio coverage of the game, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage. XM will provide satellite radio play-by-play coverage of the XM All-Star Futures Game.
Sizemore, who was once a participant in that Futures Game, will make his second All-Star appearance in as many years. He was pleased to be informed he was a players' ballot selection, whereas he was manager Ozzie Guillen's pick a year ago.
"Anytime you get [selected], it's special," Sizemore said. "Obviously, you want respect from your peers. It means a lot."
Serving as a spark plug at the top of a Cleveland lineup that has produced the second most runs in baseball has made Sizemore stand out.
Where Sizemore, a supreme defender and reliable bat, has really progressed this season is in his ability to work deep into the count and to generate run-scoring opportunities on the bases. Coming into Sunday, his 50 walks were tied for fourth most in the league, and his 23 stolen bases ranked second. Those numbers have helped him score 67 runs, third in the AL.
Of course, the Indians have had several other players responsible for their 49-32 start. That's why, when manager Eric Wedge informed Sabathia, Sizemore and Martinez of their selection before Sunday's game, he did so in a team meeting.
"Those three understand what their teammates mean to them and how that makes them better ballplayers," Wedge said. "Even though those three guys are going to go, everybody contributes to that."
This is the most All-Star selections the Indians have had since 2004, when five players -- Martinez, Sabathia, Jake Westbrook, Ronnie Belliard and Matt Lawton -- made the AL squad.
"That was a lot of fun," Sabathia said about '04. "The first time I went, I was by myself. But that second time was awesome, because we had so many guys there."
This year, Sabathia will have plenty of company again. And maybe he'll even have them over for dinner, too.
The 2003 season marked the introduction of the Player Ballot to the All-Star selection process. Each league's players, managers and coaches elect eight position players and eight pitchers from their league. Catchers and infielders who finish in the top two at their position on the Player Ballot, and outfielders among the top six, are assured of making the All-Star Team. In instances where the winners of the Player Ballot are also fan-elected starters, the player with the next highest amount of votes on the Player Ballot makes the All-Star Team. Eight pitchers -- five starters and three relievers -- become All-Stars through the Player Ballot. The manager of each World Series team from the prior season -- in this year's case, Detroit's Jim Leyland and St. Louis' Tony La Russa -- then fills the remaining slots on their respective teams, ensuring that one player from all 30 clubs is named to the All-Star Game.