KANSAS CITY — David Ortiz was 15 minutes late for the American League’s press conference this afternoon. But he made a grand entrance, arriving wearing sunglasses and an assortment of diamond jewelry.
“Best-dressed All-Star every year,” Baltimore’s Adam Jones said.
Big Papi offered a few observations on the state of the Red Sox and his outstanding first half of the season.
“In our case, injuries got in the way for us to have the hard time that we’ve been having through the first half of the season,” Ortiz said. “The American League East is one of the toughest divisions to play. The East division has always been tough.”
Ortiz admitted it’s strange to be the only member of the Red Sox to make the All-Star Game.
“It’s a little crazy,” he said. “I’ve not been able to see some of my teammates here like usual. It was strange. But at the same time we have a lot on the DL. That’s the major reason, I guess.”
Ortiz said he was satisfied with his first-half performance, pointing out that it required patience at the plate.
“If you don’t have hot hitting behind you, they won’t mind to pitch around you and take care of the rest, you know what I’m saying? So this first half was good,” he said. “Like I always do, tried my best. Hopefully the rest of the guys that are on the DL will be ready for the second half and us to have a better chance.”
Ortiz thinks the dysfunctional Sox have a shot to make the playoffs despite a 43-43 record and losses in eight of their last 11 games.
“We’re going to have a lot of guys coming back, a lot of the regular guys coming back for the second half. So I think we’ll be in better shape for the second half,” he said. “It was hard to compete like that.
“We haven’t been able to work as a group, lot of injuries. ... At one point we had the whole regular outfield on the DL. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
The All-Star buzz from KC: The White Sox players on hand are unanimous on the positive effect Kevin Youkilis has had on Chicago. “Great player and a great teammate,” Paul Konerko said. “He’s made a real impact for us since the day he got there.” ... The Yankees are said to be angry with the critical comments Reggie Jackson made about Alex Rodriguez and several Hall of Famers, including Jim Rice. Jackson was told to stay away from the team for a period of time.