BOSTON (CBS) — The defending World Series champions have just one All-Star representative at the moment, with starting pitcher Jon Lester the only member of the Red Sox making the roster for the mid-summer classic.
Lester will represent the Sox along with manager John Farrell at the July 15 All-Star game in Minneapolis, the third All-Star game of the lefty’s career.
“Obviously it’s a big honor to represent the Red Sox and go to the All-Star Game and play a game with a lot of the great players in this game,” Lester said Sunday afternoon. “This is what you want to do as a kid. You watch All-Star Games, you watch the playoffs on TV and you dream about one day hopefully being in that position. And to live that dream and have that opportunity to go to three All-Star Games, and two World Series rings — I don’t want to say it’s a dream come true because hopefully I have a few more World Series in me and all the other stuff to go along with it. Everyone in this room dreams about it as a kid.”
Lester has been one of the few bright spots for the Red Sox this season, going 9-7 in 18 starts with a 2.73 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. His 122 strikeouts over 122 innings ranks seventh in the American League, and second among lefties.
“When you look at what Jon’s been able to do in terms of where he stacks up with other starters –top five or top six in most pitching categories — he has earned the selection,” Farrell said of his ace.
Farrell, who will man the bench for the American League, said that Boston closer Koji Uehara will be the first in line to take a potential free spot on the AL squad. Uehara has 18 saves in 19 opportunities this season, with a 1.30 ERA and minuscule 0.74 WHIP in 40 appearances.
Lester said he was surprised he was the only player on the Sox to get an All-Star nod, and he’d obviously like to see more Red Sox teammates join him in Minneapolis.
“The more teammates you can bring along the better, just as far as comfort level,” he said, before joking that he wouldn’t be able to talk to Uehara too much during the All-Star fun.
But with Lester as the lone representative right now, that means no David Ortiz or Dustin Pedroia on the team. Ortiz had been selected to nine of the last 10 All-Star games, with Pedroia getting nods in four of the last six.
Farrell said a four-day vacation may not be the worst thing for Ortiz, who was more than open to letting younger and more-deserving players get their chance this season.
“I’m a fan of guys who have had a really, really good first half making the All-Star Game, and there’s a couple guys ahead of me this year at my position,” said Ortiz, who is batting .261 with 19 homers and 55 RBIs this season. “I don’t think it’s fair to guys like Nelson Cruz and Victor [Martinez] and [Edwin] Encarnacion, who are having unbelievable seasons, they don’t have as many All-Star Games as I have.
“You just keep it real. They’re having a better season than what I’m having, and they well deserved it,” said Ortiz.
Cruz is currently the American League co-leader with 27 home runs. Encarnacion is second in the AL with 70 RBIs, and Martinez’s .328 batting average is third in the league.
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