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Kent heading to All-Star Game

Kent to represent Dodgers at All-Star Game

LOS ANGELES -- Record-setting second baseman Jeff Kent will start this year's National League All-Star Game. Gold Glove shortstop Cesar Izturis will be introduced as an All-Star reserve, but will not play in the Midsummer Classic due to a hamstring injury.

"Both deserve it," said Dodgers manager Jim Tracy. "You'd be hard-pressed to find somebody better to start than Jeff Kent. And in Cesar's case, he's had a tough time of late, but he's still very deserving."

Kent, signed as a free agent last December, becomes the first Dodgers second baseman to make an All-Star appearance since Juan Samuel in 1991 and the first to start since Steve Sax in 1983. He will be the Dodgers' first position starter since catcher Mike Piazza in 1997.

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But the assignment is nothing new to Kent, who made four previous All-Star teams, all as a starter. He is 2-for-7 with a double and a walk in his All-Star career.

"It's a real neat experience to represent the team you play for," said Kent. "Especially for me, having played in different cities and getting to pick and choose where I want to play."

Kent is Major League Baseball's all-time leading home run hitter among second basemen, with 293. For most of the first half of this season, he has led Major League second basemen in home runs and RBIs.

He, Tony Lazzeri and Charlie Gehringer are the only second basemen in Major League history with seven 100-RBI seasons. Kent also joins Rogers Hornsby and Ryne Sandberg as the only second basemen with three 30-homer seasons.

Kent already holds the Major League record for second basemen with 20 or more home runs in eight consecutive seasons, and he's on pace this year to take sole possession of the other two milestones. Lazzeri, Gehringer, Hornsby and Sandberg are all in the Hall of Fame.

"You bet it's an honor," said Kent of making previous All-Star teams. "It's a great experience. To represent your team and the city you play for. To be voted in is an acknowledgement from the fans that they want me to play. That's a pretty cool feeling."

The 37-year-old Kent, the National League MVP in 2000, is in his 14th season in the Major Leagues, with his sixth organization. He is three hits shy of 2,000 for his career.

Izturis, 25, was having a career season, and was leading in fan voting at his position until an offensive slump in June and a hamstring strain swung votes toward St. Louis' David Eckstein, who will start at shortstop.

All-Star Game 2005

Nonetheless, he had been among the league leaders this year in average, hits, multiple-hit games, and average when batting in close and late situations. He has been the glue for the Dodgers' defense and the offensive spark as the leadoff hitter.

Izturis said he will attend the All-Star Game after making the team for the first time, but will not play. "I just want to be 100 percent when I come back after the All-Star break," he said.

The All-Star Game, to be held at Detroit's Comerica Park on Tuesday, July 12, at 8 p.m. ET, will be televised nationally by FOX Sports and around the world by Major League Baseball International. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive, national radio coverage; MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage; and MLB Radio will provide exclusive play-by-play coverage of the game on the Internet.

Ken Gurnick 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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