Six Sox Stars and one (sort of) snub
The Red Sox got plenty of respect from players around Major League Baseball as no fewer than six Boston players were slected to the All-Star Game via the player voting.
But just as newsy as Adrian Beltre, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez being named to the squad was the news that Kevin Youkilis did not make the cut.
Youkilis is one of the five AL players eligible for the Final Vote ballot, so Red Sox fans should go to http://www.mlb.com or http://www.redsox.com and vote if they want to support the gritty first baseman.
“I’m not a self promoter,” said Youkilis. “I’m not going to tell anyone to vote for me. I hope my family and friends vote for me. but it’s going to take more than that. For me, I’m going to go out and play baseball and not worry about it. I’ts out of my hands. You just go out and try to win a ballgame.”
Beltre seemed to be the guy that Sox players were the happiest for.
“No question, man,” said Ortiz. “If there’s one guy in this clubhouse who should be part of the All-Star Game, it’s Adrian. Adrian has been doing an unbelievable job for this ballclub and I think he’s earned it.”
Clay Buchholz has come the furthest in the shortest amount of time. Remember two years ago when he was so despondent and lost and posted a 6.75 ERA in 16 starts?
“There’s been a lot of ups and downs to get to this point. Being able to be named with the guys that are on, that’s awesome,” said Buchholz. “It’s something that I dreamed about growing up. I dreamed about just playing in the big leagues. I’m as happy as can be.”
Though Jon Lester has pitched like an All-Star since May of 2008, this is his first time officially being one.
“It’s obviously big,” said Lester. “It’s something you grow up watching as a kid, the home-run derby and everything. You see a lot of great players playing that game. It’s definitely an honor. Like I said before, I’m going to try to do my best to represent the Red Sox and hopefully do well out there.”
For Ortiz, this All-Star berth has to be particuarly gratifying, considering the number of people who were on the verge of giving up on him back in April.
“That’s a tough first month,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He said all along, ‘It’s a long year, stay with me.’ There’s probably days when he was irritated with me and probably days where he was more than irritated with some of you. He’s right. He’s been a terrific player and continues to be, and I think it’s great that he was recognized for that.”
At least outwardly, Ortiz took the news in stride.
“I really appreciate it, man, what the players think about a guy like myself,” Ortiz said. “Like I say, I’m a guy that I try to respect everyone and play the game the way it’s supposed to be. I think when you get voted in by the players, it’s just because pretty much everyone agrees with what you’re doing, so, I’d say I really appreciate that.”
For Pedroia, the All-Star nod has to be bittersweet since he currently is walking with crutches and obviously won’t be able to play in the game.
“It’s still a great honor,” Pedroia said. “I’m really excited. The players voted me in? That’s pretty cool. Pretty special. I’m excited about it.”
As for Youkilis, Ortiz said to get out there and vote.
“Yeah man, all of you out there, you guys make sure that my boy Youk comes on this flight. You can’t play no better than that,” said Ortiz. “When I found out he wasn’t going, I was kind of upset. A guy that has put it together like Youk thorugh the years and especially this season, he really deserves to be out there. I know a lot of people will keep that in mind and make sure Youk is an all-star. He deserves to be in there.”