Ortiz continues to cherish All-Star Game appearances

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Ortiz continues to cherish All-Star Game appearances

KANSAS CITY -- After seven previous appearances, the All-Star Game is a familiar experience for David Ortiz. He's been part of winning teams and losing teams and his share of personal experiences.

Ortiz figured he would do the right thing Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium and come out of the game after one at-bat, giving playing time to Billy Butler, the host Kansas City Royals' lone representative.

American League manager Ron Washington had other ideas, though.

As the manager of the Texas Rangers, currently in the lead in the American League West and winners of the last two A.L. pennants, Washington had a selfish reason for wanting Ortiz to get more at-bats.

He wanted to win the 83rd annual All-Star Game, which would reward the Rangers with home field advantage in case they return to the World Series for a third straight October.

So the two compromised. Ortiz got two at-bats.

Against Matt Cain in the bottom of the second, Ortiz hit a fly ball to the warning track in left, just in front of the foul pole, which was caught by Ryan Braun.

Three innings later, he came up against lefty Clayton Kershaw and lined a single over shortstop Rafael Furcal's head to left. Ortiz then advanced to second on a single by Mike Napoili and to third on a groundout by Curtis Granderson. He was stranded at third, as the A.L. was blanked by the National League, 8-0.

"It was good, like always," said Ortiz of the experience. "Those guys (in the N.L.) came out hot (with five runs in the first). But it was a good experience. You just make sure that the fans enjoy it and have a good time. It's always good to put on a good show for them.

"It's always a blessing to be part of the All-Star Game. Having the fans voting and having you come out, it's great. It's something that never gets old and I always look forward to."

After his second at-bat, Ortiz was glad to cede the stage to Butler, who was left off the American League Home Run Derby team by New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, who served as the team captain.

Cano was booed mercilessly Monday night during the Derby.

"I think what everyone did to Robinson was kind of wrong, man," he said. "He wasn't trying to keep anybody out of the competition or anything like that. He went out and picked three guys to help him out to win and keep the title in the American League. Those guys that he picked (Jose Bautista, Prince Fielder and Mark Trumbo) were actually pretty good.

"It was a little rough, but everybody knows that Robinson is a Class A guy and he just wanted to make sure things go well in the All-Star Game for everybody."

While stopped at third base, Ortiz chatted with New York Mets third baseman David Wright and inquired about his contract status.

"I asked him, 'How many years you got left on your contract?' recalled Ortiz. "He said (he's eligible after next season). I said, 'Good luck to you. Hitting .351 . . . wow."

Asked if Wright returned the question about contracts, Ortiz laughed.

"Actually, no," said Ortiz. "He knows what's up with me."

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California. 

 

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal. 

"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."

After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.

"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."

The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.

"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."