NEW YORK — Major League Baseball affixes little gold stars on the back of each player’s cap, one for each year he has been in the All-Star Game.
Clay Buchholz had two stars on his cap Tuesday night, a nice accomplishment for the 28-year-old. He made the All-Star team in 2010 and again this season.
“There are a lot of guys who have long careers and never get here. It’s special,” Buchholz said Tuesday. “I really appreciate being here. You have to treat it with respect because it doesn’t happen very often.”
Now the idea is to actually pitch in the game. Buchholz was unable to pitch in 2010 because of a hamstring injury and is out this season because of a sore shoulder.
“It would be awesome to pitch in the game. That’s the whole point of making the team, to get a chance to play. It’s frustrating in that sense,” Buchholz said. “It’s cool to be here. You have a good first half of the season and you want to compete against the other guys who did that, too.”
Buchholz hasn’t pitched since June 8. What started out as a sore AC joint in the front of his shoulder turned into a strained trapezius at the base of his neck and then a bursa sac issue.
Buchholz has told the Red Sox that he will not pitch until the issue has cleared. Given that he will need time to regain arm strength, he is not likely to return to the rotation until sometime in August.
The situation has started to resemble the back injury Buchholz had in 2011. That went from a minor situation in June and turned into his missing the rest of the season.
But Buchholz said there is “no doubt” he’ll pitch again this season.
“That’s how I feel,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting completely better. I don’t want to get out there and have a setback. I’ve got be sure about it. It’s just something that needs time.”
A New York welcome
The All-Stars were driven down 42nd Street Tuesday afternoon. The parade drew thousands of fans and the three Red Sox players riding in open cars received plenty of attention.
“All I got was grief. There were a few Red Sox fans scattered in there, but there weren’t very many of them,” Buchholz said. “Some of the things I heard were hilarious.”
Dustin Pedroia was with his wife and two young sons for the ride. He said his 3-year-old, Dylan, was asking about some of the things the New York fans were saying.
“I didn’t want to explain that to him,” Pedroia said.
David Ortiz said he enjoyed his trip down the street.
“Papi has friends everywhere,” he said. “They like me in New York. No problems.”
Ortiz ponders future
On Monday, Ortiz referred to himself as the “old lion” of the American League roster. On Tuesday, however, he said he hopes to keep playing “for another few years.”
Ortiz, 37, is signed through the end of the 2014 season. Beyond that, he’s not sure.
“At some point things start catching up with you,” he said. “When it’s time to go, it’s time to go. I have to do a lot to get myself ready to play.”
Ortiz has 420 home runs. But getting to 500, he said, won’t be reason to stick around.
“I want to win another World Series,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing. I’ve got a lot of numbers already.”
Crain of interest
The Red Sox traded for White Sox lefthander Matt Thornton last week. They also could be interested in Chicago righthander Jesse Crain, who was having an outstanding season before going on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain.
Crain, like Buchholz, was at the game only watching after being named to the AL team. Crain has an 0.74 earned run average in 38 appearances. Over 36⅔ innings he has struck out 46 and walked 11.
“It would be fun to play for a team in a place like Boston, I’m sure,” Crain said. “But I don’t know what’s going to happen. I need to get back on the mound first.’’
The Red Sox are interested in Cuban defector Dalier Hinojosa, according to a report by MLB.com. The 27-year-old righthander has been declared a free agent by baseball and is free to sign with any team. Because he has professional experience in Cuba, Hinojosa is not subject to international spending restrictions.
Neil Diamond sang “Sweet Caroline” during the middle of the eighth inning . . . The 3-0 shutout was the American League’s first since 1990 . . . The three hits for the National League were the second fewest in the game. The NL had two in 1990 . . . In nine All-Star appearances, Mariano Rivera has allowed one run on five hits over nine innings with five strikeouts and no walks . . . Buchholz brought one of his jerseys to the game to have the AL players sign. He also had two baseballs full of autographs, one he got for Jacoby Ellsbury . . . Former Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson, now with the Indians, had the locker next to Buchholz . . . The late Furman Bisher, Roger Angell, and Melvin Durslag are the finalists for the Hall of Fame’s J.G. Taylor Spink award. The winner will be selected by Hall of Fame voters and announced at baseball’s winter meetings in December . . . Mets Hall of Famer Tom Seaver threw out the first pitch . . . After the players were introduced, a group of 30 military veterans and active duty members took positions on the baselines. Each was joined by a player bearing a flag.
Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com.