The defending World Series champion Red Sox have only one player in the All-Star Game for the moment, lefthander Jon Lester.
Lester was selected to the team by American League manager John Farrell to give the Sox their mandatory representative. Lester is 9-7 with a 2.73 earned run average in 18 starts.
It is the third All-Star selection for Lester, his first since 2011. His three selections are the most for a Red Sox lefthander since Lefty Grove was picked five times from 1935-39.
“It’s a big honor to represent the Red Sox at the All-Star Game,” Lester said. “I’m fortunate to be a part of it.”
Lester acknowledged it was strange to be the only Red Sox player picked.
“Yeah, a little bit,” he said. “I don’t know what that attests to. You’d figure that there would a few more guys.”
Closer Koji Uehara, although not on the team for the moment, is first on the list of pitchers who will be selected as replacements for those unable to participate because of injury or being rested. Uehara is sure to be named to the team.
“Jon Lester and Koji have pitched All-Star-caliber baseball the entire first half of the season,” Farrell said. “When you look at what Jon’s been able to do in terms of where he stacks up with other starters, in the top five or top six in most pitching categories, he has earned the selection.”
Uehara has a 1.30 ERA in 40 appearances. He is 4-2 with 18 saves. The All-Star selection would be his first in the majors. Uehara was an eight-time All-Star in Japan.
Uehara did not want to comment, saying he preferred to wait out the situation.
“I still can’t say that I’ll be honored because I haven’t actually made the team,” he said. “Last year I had a chance but I wasn’t able to. I’ll comment on it once I actually make the team.”
It is somewhat surprising that Uehara was not selected in the voting by the players. Sean Doolittle (Athletics), Greg Holland (Royals), and Dellin Betances (Yankees) were the three choices as relievers.
David Ortiz, an All-Star for the last four seasons and nine of the last 10, was not selected. He is hitting .261 with 19 home runs and 55 RBIs.
Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz and Detroit’s Victor Martinez are the designated hitters for the American League. Ortiz finished fourth in the fan voting.
“Had a chance to talk with David and felt like the four days of rest might be more advantageous to him and he was a pro about it, spoke his mind and really had a lot of input into the decision,” Farrell said.
Ortiz was fine with the outcome, saying Cruz, Martinez, and Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion deserved to be on the team.
“I’m a big fan of guys that have a really good first half [of the season],” he said. “There are good guys ahead of me at my position.”
Ortiz said he didn’t think it would be fair for his manager to put him on the team ahead of more deserving players.
Dustin Pedroia was fourth in the voting at second base. Beyond that, the struggling Red Sox did not have any players who merited serious consideration. Fan and player voting picked the majority of the spots. Farrell had four picks.
The process, Farrell said, was taxing but still enjoyable.
“There are so many deserving players. That’s where it really begins to get difficult,” he said. “There are going to be players who might be deserving that might be omitted because of making sure that every team is represented.”
Farrell would prefer the overall interleague record be used to determine home field.
“That would be more representative of who deserves home-field advantage,” he said. “There are so many different factors [in selecting the All-Star team]. That’s a one-game showcase. It’s not necessarily — I don’t want to say it’s not a competitive game because it is — but I just think a full-bodied season of interleague play is more representative of who’s deserving of home-field advantage.”
The candidates in online voting for the final AL spot are all pitchers: Houston’s Dallas Keuchel, Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, Los Angeles’s Garrett Richards, Detroit’s Rick Porcello, and Chicago’s Chris Sale.
Vying for the NL spot are Miami third baseman Casey McGehee, Colorado first baseman Justin Morneau, Washington third baseman Anthony Rendon, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and Atlanta outfielder Justin Upton.