BOSTON — Barring a late surge in the polls, David Ortiz will finish behind the Baltimore Orioles’ Nelson Cruz in All-Star balloting. And based strictly on numbers, at least one other designated hitter — the Detroit Tigers’ Victor Martinez — also deserves to make the American League team.
However, when it comes to getting an All-Star nod, Ortiz has one notable supporter: Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Farrell will manage the AL team, which means he will be able to make seven selections to the 33-man roster. Asked Tuesday which Red Sox players he believes merit consideration, Farrell started with Ortiz before also mentioning ace lefty Jon Lester and closer Koji Uehara. He also noted that second baseman Dustin Pedroia typically is a popular pick among players, who will select 17 players.
“I think we have a good representation of players that are going to be in the conversation,” Farrell said.
Through Monday, Cruz had a 996,000-vote lead over Ortiz in the fan balloting, and considering he is tied for the major league lead in homers (26) and RBIs (67), his inclusion in the AL lineup would be well-deserved. Ortiz is batting .248 with 19 homers, 52 RBIs and an .828 OPS. Martinez, meanwhile, is batting .323 with 20 homers, 52 RBIs and a .974 OPS.
Both Ortiz and Martinez are primarily DHs, with little flexibility to play a defensive position.
How many DHs can the AL reasonably carry?
“I guess I could make the choice of as many as I want,” Farrell said. “But again, you’re going to look at those who are deserving based on the offensive year, and you’ve got to put together a complete team. The outcome of the game has a very strong meaning to what takes place in October (in terms of deciding home-field advantage in the World Series). But you also want to recognize where performances have been worthy of it, and yet at the same time, every team has to be represented.”