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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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.
Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.
Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.
Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.
Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.
Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.
Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.
Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.
Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.
Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."
He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured.
“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.
“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”
Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.
He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.