Fan voting for the All-Star Game ends Thursday at 11:59 p.m. It seems safe to say that the Red Sox’ David Ortiz will be the designated hitter for the American League.
Ortiz has received 4,398,197 votes and is well ahead of Lance Berkman, who has 2,004,388. It would be the ninth All-Star selection for Ortiz and seventh time voted in as a starter.
Ortiz ranks fourth in the majors with 57 RBIs since his season debut April 20. He is hitting .317 with a 1.008 OPS.
Dustin Pedroia is second at second base. He has 2,838,129 votes, well behind Robinson Cano of the Yankees (3,974,322).
Pedroia (.322/.401/.443) is having a very comparable season to Cano (.287/.364/.502.).
Mike Napoli is fourth at first base, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is fifth among the catchers, and Jacoby Ellsbury is eighth in the outfield.
The All-Star Game rosters will be revealed Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Fox.
Ciriaco a hit
When the Padres made the mid-June deal with the Red Sox for Pedro Ciriaco, they were just looking for infield depth.
They had no idea how badly they would end up needing it.
The trade was swung June 14 for a player to be named or cash not long after they put second baseman Jedd Gyorko on the disabled list with a groin strain.
Two days later they lost shortstop Everth Cabrera to a hamstring strain.
Just that quickly Ciriaco went from being insurance to essential.
Ciriaco has played in all of the Padres’ 16 games since the trade, making 13 starts at shortstop and one at second base.
After struggling to find consistency as Boston’s utilityman, he’s found a level of stability in San Diego, hitting .255 (13 of 51) with a homer and four RBIs.
He’ll return to Fenway Tuesday when the Padres begin a three-game set with the Sox.
Ciriaco was one of the few bright spots in the Red Sox’ troubled 2012 season, but he was caught in an imperfect storm this year.
When Opening Day third baseman Will Middlebrooks was hit by nagging injuries, Ciriaco stepped in.
But he struggled in the field, committing seven errors in 18 games between third base and shortstop. In May, the Sox called up Jose Iglesias as an extra infielder when Middlebrooks was placed on the disabled list with a low back strain. But Iglesias’s hitting (.409/.455/.530) has made it impossible to leave him out of the lineup and also made Ciriaco expendable.
He landed in San Diego and quickly made an impact. A 3-for-6 day in his third game, a 5-3 win over the Giants, was the start of a five-game hit streak. It was also the first of three multihit games with the Padres. On June 20, he went 2 for 4 with a home run, a triple, and three RBIs in a 6-3 win over the Dodgers.
Not lacking now
Coming off a career-high 12-strikeout performance last Wednesday against the Rockies, John Lackey will take the mound against the Padres for just the second time in his career.
His first outing against them, a little more than two years ago at Fenway Park, was short-lived. He lasted just 3⅓ innings, giving up five runs on four hits, four walks, and two hit batters in a 5-1 loss.
But Lackey (5-5), fully healthy after rebabbing from Tommy John surgery in 2012, has been strong.
With a 2.99 ERA through his first 13 starts, he’s off to arguably his best start since 2007 with the Angels. He’s given up three runs or fewer in all but three starts this season.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe. Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.