Red Sox get 2 starters, 4 All-Stars in all

Updated: July 3, 2011, 10:57 PM ET
By Steven Krasner | Special to

HOUSTON -- The Boston Red Sox will have four representatives at the All-Star Game July 12 in Arizona.

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez and designated hitter David Ortiz were voted as starters by the fans, and they will be joined by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and pitcher Josh Beckett, who were selected for the game by the players' vote.

The Sox had other worthy candidates, such as pitcher Jon Lester, who has 10 wins, Jonathan Papelbon, who has 16 saves, and setup man Daniel Bard, but every year worthy players are left off the roster because there isn't room for all of them.

While Ortiz (seven times), Gonzalez (four) and Beckett (three) have participated in the Midsummer Classic previously, this is a first for Ellsbury.

And considering what he went through last year, missing most of the season because of fractured ribs and enduring loud whispers that he was soft and wouldn't play with pain, Ellsbury had to be the most satisfied of the Sox to be named to the team.

"I'm excited. To be selected by your peers is an honor. It has always been a dream of mine to play in this game," said Ellsbury, who was batting .300 with 9 homers, 40 RBIs and 25 stolen bases heading into Sunday's game against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

"It's definitely gratifying as much work as I put in (to get healthy)," said the 27-year-old, 6-foot-1, 185-pounder. "It's very special and to be elected by my peers makes it even more special. I'm looking forward to it."

The Sox were happy for Ellsbury, who fell just short in the fans' vote of earning a berth in the starting lineup.

"I'm thrilled for him. He's been tremendous. I think this probably means a lot to him. He missed so much time last year," said manager Terry Francona. "It's like he has arrived and what he's doing is being recognized throughout the league. He's playing like he wants to show people he's as good as any center fielder in the game."

"With what he went through last year, I'm proud of him. I'm excited for him," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "The criticism he took last year. We all stood by him and now he's getting the last laugh."

For Ortiz and Gonzalez, their selections are almost old hat, but they are welcome nonetheless.

"It's an honor for me, a great time, it's something the fans enjoy," said Ortiz, who was batting .302 with 17 homers and 49 RBIs.

"It's always great to make an All-Star team. It will be fun and nice to be able to represent the Red Sox," said Gonzalez, who boasts a league-leading batting average (.353) and RBI total (74), along with 16 homers.

Gonzalez and Ortiz will be teaming up in the All-Star Home Run Derby, too.

Ortiz is the captain of the American League team, and he said Sunday he had selected Gonzalez and Toronto's Jose Bautista, one of the starting outfielders, as part of his four-man Derby team. Ortiz also said he had spoken with the Yankees' Mark Teixeira about being the fourth participant. Teixeira said he would do it if chosen for the All-Star team, but he was not selected so it wasn't clear if he still would participate.

Teixeira said after the Yankees loss Sunday that he would not participate, instead using the time to visit with his family.

Ortiz said he had spoken to the Yankees' Robinson Cano about taking part as a Plan B, and that he might reach out to the Rangers' Josh Hamilton, as well.

Gonzalez is hoping to better his previous appearance in the Derby, when he only hit two homers in St. Louis.

Beckett improved to 7-3 with a 2-1 win at Houston on Sunday. He is second in the AL with a 2.12 ERA.

"I was voted in by my peers again. I wouldn't have it any other way. It's a special way to be voted in, by people you compete against," Beckett said, who also was chosen in 2007 and 2009.

Lester was asked how he felt about not being chosen despite being second in the league in wins, with 10, to go along with a 3.43 ERA.

"I don't make the decisions," said the left-hander, who participated in his first All-Star Game last year.

"Is it nice to go? Yeah. Is it disappointing not to go? Yeah. But it will be nice to get a break," he said.

Lester was informed that New York's CC Sabathia, tied for the league in wins with 11, also was not chosen, causing him to scoff at the selection process.

"There you go," said Lester. "If CC doesn't make it, I don't think too many pitchers should make it."

Steven Krasner is a frequent contributor to Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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