The team with the best record in baseball probably will not be represented in the starting lineup at the All-Star game. And, if you want to know why the Dodgers have the best record in baseball, they say that’s a great place to start.
“That just shows it’s a bunch of guys playing well together,” catcher Russell Martin said. “Nobody is carrying this team. Everybody is holding their own.”
Manny Ramirez might have piled up the statistics and the votes had he not been suspended, but the Dodgers have played more games without him than they have with him, and still they have the best record. No Dodger ranks among the National League top five in any triple crown category.
Fans vote position players to the starting lineup, with players electing pitchers and reserves. National League Manager Charlie Manuel selects the starting pitcher, with Chad Billingsley a possibility if he is elected.
An informal clubhouse survey revealed strong support for Billingsley, closer Jonathan Broxton and second baseman Orlando Hudson, with first baseman James Loney, third baseman Casey Blake, outfielder Matt Kemp and pitchers Randy Wolf and Ramon Troncoso also receiving votes.
Hudson cast a vote for outfielder Juan Pierre.
“He’s been our sparkplug,” Hudson said, “offensively, defensively, scoring runs, stealing bases, getting clutch hits. To do what he’s done after he’s been sitting out for the last year -- to come in and not miss a beat -- the guy should be an All-Star.”
Martin, who represented the Dodgers in the last two All-Star games, does not figure to extend that streak. He is batting .249 with one home run.
“I got no chance,” Martin said, “unless I hit 10 or 15 home runs in the next couple weeks.”
Players love to sleep in after night games, but Hudson arrived at U.S. Cellular Field at 11 a.m. Wednesday, eight hours before game time. He joined Jermaine Dye of the Chicago White Sox in an educational and recreational workshop for minority youth.
Hudson and Ken Griffey Jr. will visit baseball’s Urban Youth Academy in Compton on Saturday.
“It’s for the kids,” Hudson said. “For our African American brothers and sisters, I do what I can do.”
Ohman out again
The Dodgers sent left-handed reliever Will Ohman back to Los Angeles for an MRI examination. Ohman complained of elbow pain while pitching on a rehabilitation assignment at Albuquerque on Tuesday, Manager Joe Torre said.
The elbow injury is new. Ohman has been on the disabled list since May 30 because of a sore shoulder. He has a 5.84 earned-run average in 21 appearances this season.
Claudio Vargas could join the Dodgers next week, when he reaches the 30-day maximum for pitchers on rehabilitation assignments. Assuming the Dodgers activate him rather than release him or ask him to accept a minor league assignment, Torre said Vargas would be used in the same way Jeff Weaver is, as a long reliever and spot starter. . . . Eric Stults, who started nine games before the Dodgers put him on the disabled list because of a thumb injury, is scheduled to start a rehab assignment with Inland Empire today. . . . Torre said Mark Loretta would play first base and Brad Ausmus would catch today, with Martin at DH and Loney off.