BOSTON — David Ortiz has long been a staple at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, earning nine trips to the Midsummer Classic since signing with the Red Sox before the 2003 season.
The 38-year-old slugger didn’t receive an All-Star nod this season, however, despite Red Sox manager John Farrell serving as the skipper of the American League squad.
“He recognized that there were other guys ahead of him with the years that they were having,” Farrell said before Monday’s game against the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park. “And at the same time, he said if it’s in question — his being named to the team — then he’d much rather take the (break) and get the days of rest.”
Farrell said he chatted with Ortiz a few days before finalizing the AL roster, which features Jon Lester as the only Red Sox representative. The two were on the same page, although Farrell noted it certainly is unique not having Ortiz participate in the midseason festivities.
“That’s why we sat down and talked — out of respect for the performance and the number of appearances he’s made in the All-Star Game,” Farrell said Monday. “But at the same time, we can’t not acknowledge the number of players that are having just great years.
“I’m sure there’s a guy over in the clubhouse across the way, (White Sox pitcher) Chris Sale, who’s not pleased with the way the roster played out, and yet he’s in a group of starting pitchers that are having great years. So there is some comparable, there’s some comparison to the DHs that are having great years, as there are pitchers. Unfortunately, you can’t make everybody happy.”
Ortiz is having another solid season, hitting .261 with 19 homers, 55 RBIs and a .361 on-base percentage. Nelson Cruz and Victor Martinez both are having tremendous campaigns, though, so Ortiz simply fell victim to the numbers game when it came to designated hitters.
“Me and John had a conversation about it and he asked me how I felt and I was like, ‘I just don’t feel like taking those guys’ places,’” Ortiz told reporters Sunday. “I don’t think it’s fair to guys like Nelson Cruz and Victor (Martinez) and (Edwin) Encarnacion having an unbelievable season. They don’t have that many All-Star Games that I have. So, you just keep it real. Having a better season than what I am having and they’re well-deserving.”
The Red Sox’s World Series defense really hasn’t gone as planned. Ortiz’s absence from this year’s All-Star Game is further evidence of that.