Papi leads trio of Red Sox to All-Star Game
Pedroia, Buchholz also selected to American League squad
ANAHEIM -- Red Sox slugger David Ortiz doesn't have to fly solo to the All-Star Game this year.
While Big Papi secured his ninth All-Star berth in his 11 seasons with the Red Sox on Saturday as the starting designated hitter for the American League, his longtime teammate Dustin Pedroia also got the nod as a reserve second baseman.
Although Clay Buchholz won't be able to pitch in the All-Star Game because of a neck injury that has him on the disabled list, the right-hander rounds out Boston's All-Star trio after a spectacular first half that includes a 9-0 record and a 1.71 ERA in 12 starts.
Buchholz hasn't pitched since June 8 because of the injury and will likely to return to Boston's rotation in late July.
This is Ortiz's fourth consecutive trip to the Midsummer Classic, and it comes in the midst of yet another one of his monster seasons. Though he started the season three weeks late because of the lingering effects of a right Achilles injury he suffered last season, Ortiz quickly made up for lost time.
Entering action on Saturday, Ortiz was hitting .321 with 17 homers, 61 RBIs and a 1.024 OPS.
"I just try to do things my way," Ortiz said. "You guys have been watching me for a long time. I take things very personal when it comes down to playing the game. I guess that's what makes a difference."
With the Red Sox en route to a last-place finish in 2012, Ortiz was the club's only All-Star in Kansas City. This year, Boston has made a dramatic resurgence and has the best record in the AL at 54-34.
"Last year, to be honest with you, being the only player there for a ballclub like this one, it was weird," Ortiz said. "It was weird. It was the kind of feeling that something was wrong. You know what I'm saying? As long as I've been going to the All-Star Game, I've always had teammates with me. You know what I'm saying?
"I remember that one year it was like 10 of us. That was fun. It felt like we were playing at Fenway for the Red Sox. You know what I'm saying? It was a different feeling last year. When I first walked into Spring Training this year, I was like, 'I want more people on the All-Star Game this year.' We definitely do, and that means we're playing better and that means we've got hopes and hopefully the second half will continue going the same way it is right now and we go to the playoffs."
That turnaround by the Red Sox is the result of several other players stepping up, none more so than Pedroia, who is having one of his best all-around seasons. The sparkplug second baseman is hitting .323 with five homers, 49 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and a .404 on-base percentage.
"Yeah, it's an honor," said Pedroia. "There's a lot of great second basemen in the league, so it's pretty special. It means a lot."
While Pedroia is best known for his bat, his defense has been spectacular. In 399 total chances, Pedroia has made just one error. This is his fourth All-Star appearance overall, but first since 2010.
"He is so consistent day in and day out," said manager John Farrell. "We're watching one heck of a career unfold in front of our eyes."
For Buchholz, this is his second time being named an All-Star. He also couldn't pitch the first time he was named in 2010 because of a hamstring injury.
"It's absolutely an honor to be named to it," said Buchholz. "Seems like last couple years in June hasn't been a good month for me. It's an honor to be a part of it, to get to play with the best and being around the guys that are the best in the league. Yeah, I'm excited about it. I wish I was healthy and could pitch. I'm going to try to get ready for this second half, going to try to help this team."
From now through Thursday at 4 p.m. ET, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com for the final player for each League's All-Star roster. The Red Sox's Koji Uehara is among the candidates for the final AL spot.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 84th All-Star Game -- to be played at Citi Field in New York on Tuesday, July 16 -- will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
For Red Sox fans, watching Ortiz perform on big stages like the All-Star Game is commonplace.
"He's gotten better with age," said Farrell. "You marvel at what the guy's capable of doing."