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Two Indians get early All-Star recognition

Martinez, Sizemore get All-Star votes

CLEVELAND -- Indians catcher Victor Martinez is punishing opposing pitchers, and fans are punching their All-Star ballots in appreciation of his efforts.

In the first batch of ballot results, released Wednesday, Martinez ranks second in the voting (284,988) among American League catchers, behind only Joe Mauer of the division-rival Twins. Center fielder Grady Sizemore is also among the AL leaders at his position, as he ranks eighth among AL outfielders (252,231).

Fans can cast their votes for starters up to 25 times with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites until July 2 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Martinez, a year removed from right elbow surgery, is proving his All-Star worthiness on a nightly basis. Entering the week, he was leading the AL in batting average at .379 and on-base percentage at .453 and ranked second in hits with 66.

After missing two and a half months of the '08 season, Martinez, a two-time All-Star, has played this year like a man on a mission.

"Because he takes our wins and losses so personal, it just killed him to not be a part of it last year," manager Eric Wedge said recently. "He's always respected the game and been a great teammate and player. But he's even more appreciative of being healthy and being able to go out and play. Every pitch in every game, he doesn't take anything for granted."

Sizemore has been selected to the AL All-Star squad each of the last three years. He's gotten off to a slow start this season, entering the week with a .215 average, eight homers and 27 RBIs in 42 games, but the early vote totals prove he's as highly respected among fans as he is by opposing managers and players.

Starting rosters will be announced during the 2009 All-Star Game Selection Show presented by Chevrolet on TBS on July 5. Baseball fans around the world will then be able to select the final player on each team via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint 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 Award presented by Chevrolet at the Midsummer Classic via the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint MVP Vote at MLB.com.

The All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio play-by-play, while MLB.com will offer extensive online coverage.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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