Gonzalez, Ortiz, Beckett, Ellsbury are All-Stars

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Gonzalez, Ortiz, Beckett, Ellsbury are All-Stars

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox InsiderFollow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- Four Red Sox players -- two voted by the fans, two chosen by players -- will represent the club at the All-Star Game July 12 in Phoenix.

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez and DH David Ortiz were voted by fans, with starter Josh Beckett and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury added as part of the players' voting process.

Ellsbury's selection is his first. Ortiz will be making his seventh appearance, with Beckett going for the third time and Gonzalez the fourth.

This marks the seventh straight year that the Red Sox have sent at least four players to the game.

"I thought we'd have more,'' said manager Terry Francona.

Jon Lester, with 10 wins, was the most notable Red Sox omission.

"Representing the Red Sox once again is an honor,'' said Ortiz who will making his fifth start as an All-Star. "It's fun (to take part in). It's something the fans really enjoy. Those few days, you really get worn out, but it's worth it because the fans put a lot of enthusiasm into it.''

"I can't really put into words how I feel right now,'' said Ellsbury, "but I'm definitely excited. It's an honor to be elected to be your peers, to get rewarded for your accomplishments on the field. I knew it was a possibility. It's exciting. I'm looking forward to it.''

Ellsbury, who missed all but 18 games last season with broken ribs, said he was particularly gratified that the work he put into getting back on the field has paid off.

"He came hungry this year,'' said Ortiz of Ellsbury. "He's a guy who cares about doing good and helping the ballclub. Watching him go to his first All-Star game, I'm proud of him and hopefully, we'll see another
10, 12 more (trips).''

"To get back, like I have this year, is very special,'' Ellsbury said.

"It would have been very special any time you're elected to an All-Star game, but to be elected by your peers is very special.''

"I'm really happy for Ells,'' said Francona. "I think this kind of means a lot to him; (it says that) he's kind of arrived. He's been playing like he wants to show people how good he is.''

"It's always good (to be chosen),'' said Gonzalez. "It's great to make an All-Star game. It's nice to be able to represent the Red Sox.''

Gonzalez, who led the majors in RBI (74), total bases (200) and extra-base hits (46), will be starting the game for the first time.

"That will be fun,'' he said. "You get to get a few extra at-bats and enjoy it as the the rest of the guys finish up the game.''

A number of other Red Sox players were thought to be under consideration, including third baseman Kevin Youkilis (tied for sixth in the A.L. in RBI), second baseman Dustin Pedroia (seventh in OBP) and Lester, who has 10 wins, second-most in the league.

"Obviously, it's a honor to be a part of it,'' said Lester, "but it's also nice to get the down time sometimes. Is it nice to go? Yeah. Is it disappointing not to go? Yes. But at the same time, like I said, it's nice to get a break.''

"We're a team full of talent,'' said Gonzalez. "We had a few guys who made it and a few guys who deserved to. You experience this with every team -- there's always guys that should have made it than didn't. A team like this where you have not just a few but plenty of guys who should be in it, that's just the way the game is.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem to Yanks' Cashman

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem to Yanks' Cashman

The dearth of homegrown starting pitching for the Red Sox is talked about almost as much as every Tom Brady post on Instagram.

Red Sox fans may take some solace in knowing their team isn’t the only one dealing with this problem.

In an interview with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman didn’t talk about his team’s pitching problems in context of the Red Sox. But the explanation the longtime Yanks boss offered should sound familiar. 

In the biggest of markets, time to develop properly is scarce.

“Yeah. It's a fact,” Cashman said when asked if criticism of their pitching development was fair. “I think part of the process has been certainly where we draft. Because we've had a lot of success, we've not been allowed to tank and go off the board and therefore get access to some of the high-end stuff that plays out to be impactful. Part of it is we can't get out of our own way because we don't have the patience to let guys finish off their development, because if you possess some unique ability that stands out above everybody else -- whether it was Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, now [Luis] Severino and before that [Bryan] Mitchell and Shane Greene -- we're pulling them up before their development is finished.

“Teams like Tampa Bay, for instance, they're going to wait until they have their four pitches down and their innings limits are all exceeded at the minor-league level; they're very disciplined in that approach as they finish off their starters. For us, if I'm looking at my owner and he says, ‘What's our best team we can take north?’ 

“Well, ‘We could take this guy; he's not necessarily 100 percent finished off, but we can stick him in our 'pen. He can be in the back end of our rotation, because he's better than some of the guys we already have,’ and then you cut corners, so I think that probably plays a role in it.”

Not everything is circumstantial, though -- or a deflection. 

“And sometimes we don't make the right decisions, either, when we're making draft selections and signings and stuff like that,” Cashman continued. “On top of it all, playing in New York is a lot different than playing anywhere else.”

We’ve heard that last part about Boston too, here and there.

Cashman was complimentary of his current Sox counterpart, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, whose team Cashman has compared to the Golden State Warriors.

On his feelings when he first heard the Sox were getting Chris Sale:

“When that trade was consummated, that was the first thing I thought about, which was, 'Wow, look at what they've done,' ” Cashman said. “I know how it's going to play out for them. Listen, Steve Kerr does a great job managing that team -- oh, I mean John Farrell. It's a lot of talent and with talent comes pressure to perform. I think Dave Dombrowski has done everything he possibly can to provide that city with a world championship team. They've got 162 games to show it.”
 

Jones-Molina WBC spat is a clash of cultures . . . and that's great

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Jones-Molina WBC spat is a clash of cultures . . . and that's great

The Adam Jones-Yadier Molina verbal skirmish is as predictable as it is annoying.

Was every cultural nuance for the 16 World Baseball Classic teams explained in a booklet the players had to memorize before the tournament?

No? Then it’s amazing there weren’t more moments like this.

Jones, the Orioles outfielder, said Team USA's championship game win over Puerto Rico was motivated by Puerto Rico's choice to plan a post-tournament parade for the team before the final game.

As Jones was raised, parades in pro sports are for championship teams. Red Sox fans are likely aware of this.

As Jones was raised, discussing a parade before a title is secured suggests overconfidence. Rex Ryan fans are likely aware of this.

After an 8-0 win for the U.S., Jones revealed the parade was used as bulletin-board material.

"Before the game, we got a note that there was some championship shirts made -- we didn't make 'em -- and a flight [arranged],” Jones said. “That didn't sit well with us. And a parade -- it didn't sit well with us."

But apparently, Jones didn't know the full context of the parade. It was reportedly planned regardless of whether Puerto Rico won.

One Team USA teammate of Jones whom CSNNE spoke with didn't believe that, however.

"It was called a champions parade that got turned into a celebration parade once they lost," the player said. "I think they just don't like getting called out by Jones, but all Jones did was tell exactly what happened."

Jones’ comments weren’t received well.

Puerto Rico's going through a trying time, a recession, and the entire island rallied behind the team.

“Adam Jones . . . is talking about things he doesn't know about," Molina told ESPN’s Marly Rivera. "He really has to get informed because he shouldn't have said those comments, let alone in public and mocking the way [preparations] were made.”

No one should be upset Jones explained what he was thinking.

Jones actually asked MLB Network host Greg Amsinger, “Should I tell the truth?”

Yes. It’s better than lying.

Look at the reactions across the WBC: the bat flips, the raw emotion. Honesty conveyed via body language.

People in the U.S. are starting to accept and crave those reactions. The WBC helped promote a basic idea: let people be themselves.

Jones said what was on his mind. We can’t celebrate bat flips and then say Jones should keep his mouth shut.

But there's an unreasonable expectation being placed on Jones here.

He heard about a parade -- which is to say, a subject he wouldn't normally think twice about or investigate before a championship baseball game.

Plus, it gave him motivation.

Why is Jones, or anyone with Team USA, more responsible for gaining an advance understanding of Puerto Rico’s parade-planning conventions -- we're talking about parade planning! -- than Puerto Rico is responsible for keeping U.S. norms in mind when making and/or talking about those plans?

No one involved here was thinking about the other’s perception or expectation. It's impossible to always do so.

But that’s how these moments develop: what’s obvious to one party is outlandish to the other.

Now Molina, Puerto Rico's catcher, wants an apology.

"He has to apologize to the Puerto Rican people," Molina told ESPN. "Obviously, you wanted to win; he didn't know what this means to [our] people."

Jones can clear the air with an apology, but he doesn't owe one. And he definitely doesn't owe one after Molina took it a step further.

"I'm sending a message to [Jones], saying, 'Look at this, right now you're in spring training working out, and we're with our people, with our silver medals,' " Molina said. "You're in spring training and you're working . . . you have no idea how to celebrate your honors, you don't know what it means.”

Team USA had no parade. Manager Jim Leyland made clear how the U.S. was celebrating, by recognizing those serving the country.

The silver lining here is how much attention the WBC has drawn, and how much conversation it can drive. People care, a great sign for the sport -- and its potential to foster better understanding across cultures.

Internationally, the sport is on parade.