Saltalamacchia belongs among AL All-Stars


Saltalamacchia belongs among AL All-Stars

Count me among the millions who wanted to see Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the All Star Game.

And why not? On a team full of superstars who can't keep it together, Saltalamacchia's one of the few guys to actually exceed expectations this year. He doesn't have an ego or an attitude, or carry himself like a martyr for getting paid millions to play baseball. Instead, he's just a plain, old likable athlete. He works hard. He's easy to root for. He just so happens to have hit more home runs (15) than any catcher in baseball.

And for all those reasons, we wanted Salty to get the call.

Of course, he didn't.

Whether or not he eventually finds his way to Kansas City remains to be seen. These days, you know at least a handful of All-Stars will drop out of the game, and this year, Salty will be on the short list of replacements. But even if he gets the late invite, it's not the same. It's like getting a call from a couple three weeks before they get married: "Hey, I know this is last second, but do you want to come to our wedding?" You appreciate the offer, and you probably end up going, but you know that you were on the B-List; that they only invited you after a bunch of other people turned them down first.

Anyway, despite the desire to see Saltalamacchia in the All-Star game, and the disappointment in the fact that he didn't make it, it's hard to get too riled up about the snubbage.

First of all, because Salty's hitting .254 with a .302 OBP this season. I don't care where the competition is, or what kind of feel good story you might be, if those are your numbers, there's a serious argument to be made against your All Star status.

Second, because even though he's done an admirable job taking over for Jason Varitek, the Sox rotation as a whole hasn't been that good. I'm not saying that's the catcher's fault, I'm just saying that his presence behind the plate doesn't really support the case.

Third . . . no, I'm going to stop there. I don't want to sit here and pick apart all the reasons Jarrod Saltalamacchia isn't an All-Star.

Because the real story is that we're even having the conversation to begin with.

That whether or not he ultimately spends July 10 sweating his brains off in Kansas City, for the first three months of the season, Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been one of the best catchers in the American League, and one of the biggest surprises in Boston.

Count me among the millions who never saw that coming.

Rich can be reached at

Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists


Bradley, Betts, Pedroia are A.L. Gold Glove finalists

Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field, Mookie Betts in right and Dustin Pedroia at second base are the Red Sox' finalists for the American League Gold Glove awards.

The Blue Jays’ Kevin Pillar and the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier are the other A.L. center field finalists. The White Sox’ Adam Eaton and Astros’ George Springer are A.L. right field finalists. Joining Pedroia as second base finalists are the Mariners’ Robinson Cano and Tigers’ Ian Kinsler.

Peoria has won four Gold Gloves. Bradley and Betts have yet to win one.

The full list of finalists is here.  The awards will be presented on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. on ESPN

The Red Sox sent out a series of tweets backing each player’s candidacy.

Betts is also a front-runner for the American League Most Valuable Player.


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League


Ortiz wins Hank Aaron Award as top hitter in American League

CLEVELAND -- David Ortiz is heading into retirement with some more hardware.

The Boston Red Sox slugger captured the Hank Aaron Award on Wednesday as the top hitter in the American League this season. Budding Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant was honored as the top hitter in the National League.

The award was presented before Game 2 of the World Series between the Cubs and Cleveland. It was determined through a combination of fan voting and a panel that includes Aaron and other Hall of Fame players.

The 40-year-old Ortiz hit .315 with 38 home runs, 127 RBIs and 48 doubles in the 20th and final season of his major league career. His 541 career home runs rank 17th all-time.

The 24-year-old Bryant hit .292 with 39 home runs and 102 RBIs while helping the Cubs cruise to the NL Central title and eventually a spot in the World Series. Shortly after being honored, Bryant singled in the first inning for his first Series hit.