By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox InsiderFollow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- David Ortiz stayed close to home in selecting his American League Home Run Derby team, stacking the squad with a teammate and at least one other player from an A.L. rival
Ortiz got commitments from teammate Adrian Gonzalez and Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista and was waiting to hear from New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira.
Teixeira wasn't selected for the All-Star game, though that wouldn't preclude him from taking part.
Under a new format devised by Major League Baseball, Ortiz was named captain of the A.L. squad by virtue of having won the derby at the 2010 game in Anaheim. The N.L. team is headed by Milwaukee's Prince Fielder, who won the derby in 2009.
Bautista led all of baseball in 2010 with 54 homers and went into Sunday with 26 homers this year, the most in either league.
Teixeira was second with 25 homers. Gonzalez had 16 while Ortiz himself had 17.
"It's going to be fun,'' said Gonzalez, who took part in 2009, but hit just two homers. "Hopefully, I can do better the second-time around. But I'm going to enjoy it just like I did the first time and try my best.''
Some players have declined to take part in the past, claiming that the event can negatively impact their swings for weeks after the break.
"There's always times in BP that I try to hit home runs anyway,'' shrugged Gonzalez. ''Hitting home runs in BP is just part of being a ballplayer. I can see why people say it affects their swing but I don't see it affecting my swing.''
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The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.
The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.
Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.
Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.
If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack.
The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)
Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.
A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.
Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.
An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.