McCann an all-star for 5th time

Brian McCann still hasn't been voted an all-star starter by the fans, but he clearly has the respect of his peers.

The Atlanta Braves catcher and Duluth product was selected for his fifth straight all-star game in five full major league seasons on Sunday, and all of his all-star selections have come through votes from his fellow major-leaguers. The 26-year-old set a Braves record with three all-star appearances in his first three seasons, and each season he has added to his record.

"To be voted in by the guys you play against every day and have their respect, that means a lot to me," McCann told mlb.com.

McCann will be joined in the all-star game -- scheduled for July 13 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim -- by four other Braves, including rookie phenom Jason Heyward, voted by the fans as a National League starter in the outfield. Though Heywards participation in the game hinges on how his injured thumb recovers after a disabled list stint, the 20-year-old is still the second-youngest elected starter in all-star history, behind only Ken Griffey Jr. in 1990.

Martin Prado, the league's leading hitter at .336, also will be an NL starter in his first all-star game because Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley is on the disabled list. He will be joined by another Brave, Omar Infante, among the NL position players. Infante made his first all-star game thanks to his work as a utility player and his .311 batting average.

Atlanta starting pitcher Tim Hudson also will travel to the all-star game. The 34-year-old will make his third all-star appearance, but first since 2004 along with the biggest crop of Braves since a group of seven players made the 2003 game.

McCann was fresh out of Duluth and in the beginning stages of his minor league career back in 2003, but now he is the most experienced of the Braves 'all-stars after putting up consistently strong offensive numbers throughout his young career. In his previous pro seasons, he has hit between 18 and 24 homers, had between 87 and 94 RBIs and had between 34 and 42 RBIs each year.

He already has earned three Silver Slugger awards as the league's top hitting catcher.

Despite being plagued by vision problems early this season, the lefty has turned in another solid first half because of his play in the past few months. He's hitting .265 with 10 home runs, 34 RBIs and 13 doubles, but most of his hitting success has come lately, including a 2-for-4 effort with a home run Sunday.

"(McCann) deserves it," Braves manager Bobby Cox told mlb.com. "He puts up stats and he plays the game in such a professional manner. The players love him."