For the second straight year, Rafael Devers will start at third base for the American League in the All-Star Game. Major League Baseball announced he’d beaten Cleveland’s José Ramírez in fan voting just after first pitch of Friday’s 12-5 Red Sox loss to the Yankees.
Devers is the lone Sox starter for the game July 19 at LA’s Dodger Stadium, batting .327/.384/.593 with a .977 OPS and 19 home runs. Devers’s 106 hits and 192 total bases led the league entering Friday, and his 27 doubles was tied for first in the AL.
He was removed from Friday’s game, however, after the fourth inning with lower back pain, having hit his side on the protective padding near the third base dugout. He’s considered day-to-day. Devers, who missed two games this week with back and hamstring tightness, was seen wincing and grabbing his lower back at the plate, in the field, and again in the dugout.
He was 0 for 3 against Yankees starter Nestor Cortes, striking out twice.
Devers entered fresh off a two-homer performance Thursday against Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, with a two-run shot in the third inning and a three-run in the fifth accounting for all the RBIs in a 6-5 loss. Devers has six homers off Cole, the most by any player in baseball.
“The stage, he doesn’t get caught up in the whole thing,” manager Alex Cora said Thursday night. “He enjoys playing baseball and helping his team win. He’s a special player and a special hitter.”
The 25-year-old is the first Sox player to start consecutive All-Star Games at third base since Wade Boggs started seven straight from 1986-92.
“I’m very proud of the hard work that I’ve done in the offseason,” Devers said. “I work on my defense and my offense. The hard work is paying off and you guys can see it.”
Pitchers and reserves for the teams are scheduled to be announced Sunday.
Michael Wacha to the injured list
Michael Wacha was placed on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation before Friday’s game, with Connor Seabold recalled from Triple A Worcester to make Friday’s start.
The Sox pushed Wacha back from his scheduled start Monday with what was described as a heavy arm. Wacha threw a bullpen Wednesday, but didn’t feel good coming into Thursday. As a result, the team thought the wisest decision would be the injured list, and hope that he returns sooner rather than later.
“It never feels good going on the IL. I’m just trying to stay positive,” Wacha said. “I feel like we’ve got a good plan in the training room to help kind of knock this thing out and get back out there as soon as possible. But right now, it’s just staying positive with that stuff and hoping we [can] knock this thing out.”
Seabold left Friday’s game in the top of the third inning with what the team termed right forearm extensor tightness. With two outs and the Sox trailing, 7-2, Seabold tossed back-to-back balls to DJ LeMahieu. It was then that the Sox training staff and Cora came out to remove Seabold.
For the second time in three starts, Seabold allowed seven runs (all earned) on nine hits, which included a three-run homer by Josh Donaldson in the first inning.
Josh Taylor grinding in the minors
Josh Taylor (back strain) said that it’s a grind for him right now. In five rehab appearances and 7⅓ innings between Double A Portland and Worcester, Taylor has a 6.14 ERA, allowing two homers. “I’m feeling frustrated,” Taylor said. “I’m trying to get my body back and be able to bounce back after outings and we’re not there yet. I’m working hard to get there. It’s just, you know, some things just take time and you just have to stick with it.” The lack of results have forced the Sox to slow his process back to the big leagues, where he’s not pitched since last season. Taylor, for the most part, feels healthy. The back isn’t giving him any issues. The next step is just getting over the hump of general soreness. That, and of course pitching better. “I’d say [my frustration] is not being able to have my stuff when I’m pitching. My typical stuff. I’ve been trying to pitch without it,” Taylor said. “So, it’s a process. I mean, you just got to keep positive about it. That’s the hard part right now” . . . Kutter Crawford was named Saturday’s starter, to be opposed by lefthander Jordan Montgomery . . . Kiké Hernández (right hip flexor strain) went 0 for 4 as the designated hitter Friday for Worcester. He will play the field Saturday and could rejoin the Sox on their upcoming road trip. Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) struggled in his two innings and 34 pitches, allowing six singles and a pair of runs against three strikeouts . . . Nate Eovaldi (right hip/back tightness) is scheduled for 60 pitches at Worcester Sunday. The Sox will make a decision on what’s next for Eovaldi following that outing.