Forty of Major League Baseball’s best position players had the honor of playing in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game. Thirty-nine of them got to take their hacks at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
The lone exception? Reigning American League MVP Mookie Betts.
Betts played the final two innings of the Midsummer Classic — a 4-3 AL victory — in right field but failed to record an at-bat. This came off as rather strange, especially considering Betts’ manager, Boston Red Sox skipper Alex Cora, was calling the shots for the AL squad.
So, why did Betts never get a chance to dig into the batter’s box? Cora explained after the game.
“There were other guys that we wanted to play,” Cora said, per MassLive’s Chris Cotillo. “There were a lot of first-timers. And we kind of like mapped it out.”
To be fair, Betts would have logged an at-bat in the bottom half of the ninth inning had the National League staged a comeback. Nonetheless, Betts had no qualms with how things played out.
“It was kind of up in the air,” Betts said. “We had some guys who were first-time All-Stars that needed to come out here and play. (Cora) asked me and I was fine with it.”
Considering Betts’ travel of late — London to Toronto to Detroit to Cleveland — we have a feeling he welcomed a little rest.