SEATTLE — Koji Uehara finished a distant fourth in the online voting for the final spot on the American League All-Star team. He didn’t get the news until after picking up his latest save for the Red Sox.
Uehara needed only 13 pitches to retire the Mariners in order in the bottom of the 10th inning of an 8-7 victory Thursday. He celebrated with his usual exuberance and that didn’t dim when he got to the clubhouse and heard about the All-Star voting.
Toronto righthander Steve Delabar won the voting, with David Robertson of the Yankees second. According to Major League Baseball, 79.2 million votes were cast.
Many teammates campaigned for Uehara through social media. But he fell short.
“I wish I was able to become an All-Star. But I really appreciate my teammates getting behind me,” Uehara said through interpreter C.J. Matsumoto.
Uehara has converted six of eight save chances since replacing Andrew Bailey as the closer. Over 10 games and 9⅓ innings, he has allowed one earned run on four hits. Uehara as walked one and struck out 13.
Uehara has an earned run average of 1.83 on the season and has struck out 55 in 39⅓ innings.
“He’s an All-Star for us,” manager John Farrell said. “Regardless of what the outward acknowledgements are, he’s extremely important to us.”
Said Uehara: “It is stressful but I’m enjoying it in the best way that I can.”
The Red Sox have David Ortiz starting in the All-Star Game with Dustin Pedroia a reserve. Clay Buchholz was voted to the team but cannot play because of a shoulder injury.
“We’ve got three guys who are going to that game,” Farrell said. “But what’s more important to those guys in that clubhouse are the wins that we continue to compile. It’s nice for guys being recognized for the work but that’s not the most important thing for us.”
Uehara now plans to play some golf during the All-Star break. He joked that he should be able to get his tee times back.
“I’m going to do that right away,” he said.
The Sox start a three-game series at Oakland on Friday night. They were 0-6 at Oakland last season and are 4-13 there over the last four years.
“That’s a tough place to play,” said Jonny Gomes, who was with the Athletics last season. “There’s a lot of passion there in the crowd and that team is loose.”
Gomes said the Sox are comparable to the Oakland team that advanced to the postseason in 2012.
“There are a lot more established players here,” he said. “But we have guys who care about the game more than themselves and some young guys who contribute more than people expected. That makes it fun to come in every day.”
The Sox have not named a starter for Sunday. Steven Wright was a candidate before he threw 5⅔ innings on Thursday. For now, that leaves Brandon Workman and, somewhat surprisingly, lefthander Drake Britton.
Britton would be on turn to pitch for Pawtucket. But the 24-year-old has made only one start in Triple A and it didn’t go well. Britton allowed five earned runs on 10 hits in 5⅓ innings against Lehigh Valley Tuesday.
Britton was 7-6 with a 3.51 ERA in 17 appearances for Double A Portland.
“It would probably come from one of those three,” Farrell said before the game. “As we get through these next couple of days we’ll have a better read on that.”
After the game, Farrell said no decision had been made.
Drew on deck
Shortstop Stephen Drew is eligible to come off the disabled list on Sunday, the final game before the All-Star break. He has been out with a strained right hamstring.
The Sox may instead send Drew out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment and wait to activate him next week.
“Whether or not we send him out while we’re in Oakland to get some at-bats is something that we’re talking about,” Farrell said.
Farrell said his plan would be to have Drew return to shortstop once he is activated and move Jose Iglesias back to third base.
Buchholz remains on schedule to start his minor league rehab assignment on Sunday. The Red Sox have not said where that game will be but Pawtucket is home.
Farrell said Buchholz could throw 45-50 pitches on Sunday. At least one other minor league game would be needed before Buchholz returns to the rotation.
Snag in plans
In what proved to be a one-run game, a defensive play Pedroia made in the fourth inning was important.
Seattle had scored two runs to take a 7-4 lead and had runners on second and third when Farrell brought his infield in. Justin Smoak hit a hard shot that Pedroia grabbed.
The momentum of the ball pushed his arm back but he held the runner at third and got the out. It saved one run and probably two.
“He looked like a jai-alai player, for God’s sake,” Farrell said. “Just a reaction play, a heck of a play on his part.”
Smoak was robbed of another hit in the second inning when Gomes made a catch while crashing into the wall in left field.
Napoli sits again
Mike Napoli played in 63 of the first 64 games, starting 62 of them. He has missed nine of the 30 games since, including Thursday’s. Farrell said it was just a day off . . . The Sox are 19-9 in day games, the best record in the majors . . . The Sox will have a third player in the Futures Games at Citi Field in New York on Sunday. Portland third baseman Garin Cecchini was added to the US roster top replace injured Rangers prospect Joey Gallo. Portland righthander Anthony Ranaudo also is on the US team. Pawtucket shortstop Xander Bogaerts is on the World Team . . . Teams have until 5 p.m. Friday to sign players selected in the amateur draft. The Sox came to an agreement with 30th-round pick Nick Longhi, a high school outfielder from Venice, Fla. According to Baseball America, Longhi took $400,000 from the Sox to pass on a scholarship to LSU. That’s equivalent to what a fourth-round pick would receive. The highest unsigned pick for the Sox is righthander Myles Smith, their fourth-round selection. The Sox are working on a deal with him and expect to beat the deadline, according to team sources . . . It was 60 degrees at first pitch. July in Seattle is not like July in New England.