BOSTON (AP) – Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is bringing his glove to the All-Star game – and a whole bunch of teammates, too.
Ortiz was elected to start at first base for the July 10 game in San Francisco, and he will be joined by at least four other Boston players. Starter Josh Beckett, reliever Jonathan Papelbon, third baseman Mike Lowell and outfielder Manny Ramirez made the team through the players’ ballot.
“We are going to be well-represented, as we should be,” manager Terry Francona said Sunday after the Red Sox lost to the Texas Rangers 2-1. “Regardless of the last five or six days, we have one of the best records in baseball. We have a lot of good players, and I hope we get a sixth.”
Setup man Hideki Okajima, a rookie in the American major leagues after playing 12 years in Japan, is on a supplemental internet ballot that will be used to fill out the last spot on the 32-man roster.
“I hear they have a lot of computers over there,” Papelbon joked. “I’m definitely going to push for him.”
Papelbon has made the All-Star team in both of his major-league seasons. Ramirez was selected for the 11th time, Ortiz for the fourth and Beckett for the first.
“You want to be one of those guys at the All-Star game year-in, year-out,” Papelbon said. “There’s a lot of great relievers that didn’t get in, including Okajima.”
If Okajima makes it, it would give the Red Sox six players on the roster – the most in baseball.
“I appreciate all the Red Sox fans and fans in Japan for their support,” Okajima said through a translator. “I hope everyone keeps supporting me and cheering for me. If I am selected into the All-Star game, it will be a great honor to participate.”
Beckett, who is second in the league with 11 wins, received the most votes from players of any starting pitcher and is a possible starter; the decision will be made by AL manager Jim Leyland next week.
“It’s not up to me. I don’t have any control over it, but it would be another exciting feat for me,” Beckett said. “Right now, I am just excited to go and let Jim Leyland take care of all those decisions.”
Lowell, who came to Boston with Beckett in the same trade, will be making his fourth All-Star appearance.
“It’s a tremendous honor and I don’t think that it is ever not an honor,” he said. “This is a great group of guys, and I am happy that we are going to be well-represented.”