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

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Chris Sale brings with him to Boston some attitude. He also brings a measure of defiance and, perhaps, a little bit of crazy.

All of which the Red Sox starting staff just may need. And if Sale pitches as he has for much of the past five years, he'll probably be celebrated for it.

I still wonder how it will all play here, especially if he underachieves.

What would we do to him locally if he refused to pitch because he didn't like a certain kind of uniform variation the team was going with? What would we say if he not only refused to pitch, but took a knife to his teammates' uniforms and the team had to scrap the promotion? Sale did exactly that in Chicago last year, after which he threw his manager under the bus for not standing by his players and attacked the team for putting business ahead of winning.

All because he didn't want to wear an untucked jersey?

"(The White Sox throwback uniforms) are uncomfortable and unorthodox,'' said Sale at the time. "I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There's a lot of different things that went into it.''

Wearing a throwback jersey would alter his mechanics? Was that a joke? It's hard to imagine he would get away with that in Boston.

Ditto for his support of Adam LaRoche and his involvement of that goofy story last March.
 
LaRoche, you'll remember, retired when the White Sox had the nerve to tell him that his 14-year-old son could not spend as much time around the team as he had grown accustomed to. Sale responded by pitching a fit.

“We got bald-face lied to by someone we’re supposed to be able to trust,'' said Sale of team president Kenny Williams. ``You can’t come tell the players it was the coaches and then tell the coaches it was the players, and then come in and say something completely different. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”

On what planet does allowing a 14-year-old kid in a clubhouse have anything to do with winning a title? In what universe does a throwback jersey have anything to do with mechanics? If David Price had said things that stupid last year, he'd still be hearing about it. And it won't be any different for Sale.

Thankfully, Sale's defiance and feistiness extends to the mound. Sale isn't afraid to pitch inside and protect his teammates, leading the American League in hit batsmen each of the last two years. He doesn't back down and loves a fight. And while that makes him sound a little goofy off the field, it should play well on it.

In the meantime, the Sox better hope he likes those red alternate jerseys they wear on Fridays.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast appears daily on CSN.

With trade rumors finally over, Sale shifts attention to dominating in Boston

With trade rumors finally over, Sale shifts attention to dominating in Boston

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Chris Sale had been the subject of so many trade rumors for the past year that he admitted feeling somewhat like "the monkey in the middle.”

On Tuesday, the rumors became reality when Sale learned he was being shipped to the Red Sox in exchange for a package of four prospects.
    
It meant leaving the Chicago White Sox, the only organization he'd known after being drafted 13th overall by Chicago in 2010. Leaving, he said, is "bittersweet.''
     
Now, he can finally move forward.
     
"Just to have the whole process out of the way and get back to some kind of normalcy will be nice,” said Sale Wednesday morning in a conference call with reporters.

Sale had been linked in trade talks to many clubs, most notably the Washington Nationals, who seemed poised to obtain him as recently as Monday night.

Instead, Sale has changed his Sox from White to Red.

"I'm excited,” he said. "You're talking about one of the greatest franchises ever. I'm excited as anybody. I don't know how you couldn't be. I've always loved going to Boston, pitching in Boston. (My wife and I) both really like the city and (Fenway Park) is a very special place.”
     
It helps that Sale lives in Naples, Fla., just 20 or so miles from Fort Myers, the Red Sox' spring training base. Sale played his college ball at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.
     
"Being able to stay in our house a couple of (more) months,” gushed Sale, “it couldn't have worked out better personally or professionally for us.”
     
Sale joins a rotation with two Cy Young Award winners (David Price and reigning winner Rick Porcello), a talented core of mostly younger position players and an improved bullpen.

"There's no reason not to be excited right now,” said Sale. "You look at the talent on this team as a whole... you can't ask for much more.”

Sale was in contact with Price Tuesday, who was the first Red Sox player to reach out. He also spoke with some mutual friends of Porcello.

That three-headed monster will carry the rotation, and the internal competition could lift them all to new heights.
     
"The good thing in all of this,'' Sale said, "is that I can definitely see a competition (with) all of us pushing each others, trying to be better. No matter who's pitching on a (given) night, we have as good or better chance the next night. That relieves some of the pressure that might build on some guys (who feel the need to carry the team every start).”

But Sale isn't the least bit interested in being known as the ace of the talented trio.

"I don’t think that matters,” he said. "When you have a group of guys who come together and fight for the same purpose, nothing else really matters. We play for a trophy, not a tag.”

Sale predicted he would be able to transition from Chicago to Boston without much effort, and didn't seem overwhelmed by moving to a market where media coverage and fan interest will result in more scrutiny.

"It's fine, it's a part of it, it's reality,” he said. "I'm not a big media guy. I'm not on Twitter. I'm really focused on the in-between-the-lines stuff. That's what I love, playing the game of baseball. Everything else will shake out.”

After playing before small crowds and in the shadow of the  Cubs in Chicago, Sale is ready to pitch before sellout crowds at Fenway.

"I'm a firm believer that energy can be created in ballparks,” he said. "I don't think there’s any question about it. When you have a packed house and everyone's on their feet in the eighth inning, that gives every player a jolt.”