CHICAGO -- Three of the Blue Jays' biggest stars are headed to the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile after Jose Bautista and Russell Martin officially joined starting third baseman Josh Donaldson on the American League team Monday evening.
Bautista was voted into the game by the players, while Martin was personally selected by Kansas City manager Ned Yost, who will lead the AL team at the Mid-Summer Classic. It's the third consecutive year Toronto's had at least three representatives at the game.
In a testament to his remarkable consistency, this will mark Bautista's sixth consecutive appearance in the All-Star Game. Surprisingly, this is Martin's first nomination since he represented the Yankees in 2011, despite a strong two-run in Pittsburgh from 2012-13.
"It's important and a great recognition ... it's one you enjoy," Bautista said after being informed of the news. "I always say this, but I'm going to get to enjoy these personal achievements at the end of the season, and end of my career, but completely focus on the second half, and we have something larger here at stake and it's making it to the playoffs. But, it's a great recognition and I'm very proud."
This is the first year since 2010 that Bautista wasn't voted into the game by the fans, but the honor will still mean a lot because of how hard he had to work to get there. Bautista has been dealing with an injured right shoulder all season and was forced to spend a month working exclusively as the designated hitter.
The season became a grind, but Bautista was able to maintain a high level of performance and as his shoulder continues to improve an even bigger second half is expected. For now, though, there can be plenty of satisfaction in that he entered play on Monday night with 17 home runs, 57 RBIs and a .917 OPS in 77 games.
Bautista also leads the AL with 65 walks to support a .397 on-base percentage. The one part of his production this season that he believes hasn't been up to par is the .246 average.
"I know my batting average is not where I'd like it to be right now, but I'm a big believer that you don't win games by getting base hits," Bautista said. "You do by driving in runs and scoring runs, and you can only score runs if you get on base, and I've been doing plenty of that because I've been taking my walks this year.
"So I feel like I'm doing a good job so far, but again, the challenge is to finish the season strong and continue to help the team win games throughout the whole 162."
Martin is second behind Oakland's Stephen Vogt for the highest WAR by an American League catcher with 2.1. He has thrown out 21 baserunners, which leads the AL, and entered the series opener in Chicago hitting .256 with 12 homers, 39 RBIs and a very strong .821 OPS.
Donaldson and Martin were the two big additions Toronto made during the offseason and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said both have gone a long way in changing the overall culture of the team.
"He's having a great year," Gibbons said of Martin. "He's been rock solid before us behind that plate and he's been one of our leaders. He's a difference-maker for us. It's nice, our two new guys and they're both all-stars."
Voting is open now at MLB.com to select the final player for each League's 34-man roster via the 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Final Vote. Fans can cast their votes from a list of five players from each League until 4 p.m. ET on Friday.
And the voting doesn't end there. During the Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 14, fans can once again visit MLB.com to submit their choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. Voting exclusively at MLB.com, online and via their mobile devices in the 2015 All-Star Game MVP Vote presented by Chevrolet, the fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.TV Premium subscribers will be able to live stream the All-Star Game via MLB.TV through FOX's participating video providers. Access will be available across more than 400 supported MLB.TV platforms, including the award-winning MLB.com At Bat app. MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities, including the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day on Monday, July 13. The Derby will feature a new format with brackets and timed rounds and will be broadcast live by ESPN and MLB.com beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
The 86th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports (7 p.m. ET air time, 8:15 first pitch), in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.