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Excited Ortiz is team’s lone Star

Ortiz will play in his eighth Midsummer Classic after getting nearly 5 million votes. (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images) Ortiz will play in his eighth Midsummer Classic after getting nearly 5 million votes.
By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / July 2, 2012
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SEATTLE — For the first time since 2001, the Red Sox will have only one representative in the All-Star Game.

The fans voted David Ortiz in as the designated hitter for the American League on July 10 in Kansas City. No other Red Sox player was close in the voting.

The Sox also were shut out in voting done by the players and in the selections by Texas manager Ron Washington.

The Sox had at least three All-Stars for 10 consecutive years, with at least six from 2007-11. But this season they are one of 12 teams with just one player picked.

It is the eighth All-Star selection for the 36-year-old Ortiz, who is hitting .302 with 21 homers and 54 RBIs.

“Another year. I’m excited,” Ortiz said before driving in the winning run in a 2-1, 10-inning victory against Seattle Sunday. “Thanks to the fans and everybody for voting me in. Now I just have to get ready to put on a good show.”

Ortiz said it would be strange to be going alone. He is usually the leader of a large band.

“Hopefully it doesn’t turn out boring. I like to hang out with my boys,” Ortiz said. “You don’t see this ballclub having one player going. We’ve had a lot of injuries and a lot of stuff we’ve been dealing with. That’s the reason, because we have a lot of All-Star players.”

Teammate Dustin Pedroia said Ortiz was clearly the most deserving Red Sox.

“He’s the reason we’re still in it, basically,” Pedroia said. “David has meant everything to us this season.”

Ortiz received 4,986,979 votes, fifth most in the majors. That was more than 1.3 million more than the Rangers’ Michael Young.

Ortiz is the first player to win fan balloting at designated hitter on four occasions, passing Edgar Martinez of Seattle.

“I’m happy that we’ve had David,” Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. “David has played like an All-Star and he got selected to that team. It’s fitting. Maybe it’s fitting he’s the only All-Star because he played so consistently well the entire time.

“David has been consistently excellent. When he comes to the plate, everything stops and usually something good happens. He’s been running the bases well. When he played in the field, he played errorless baseball. For this first part of the season, there’s nothing more anyone could ask out of one player and hopefully he’ll stay healthy.”

Ortiz will not participate in the Home Run Derby after captaining the AL to victory last season.

“It’s fun,” he said. “But I’m going to be like the Godfather and just sit down and watch.”

Ortiz believes the Derby sapped him of some energy last season and led to a July slump. “I was out of gas,” he said. “I guess age was catching up to Papi. I need to save my energy for the second half.”

Salty snubbed

Other than Ortiz, the only Red Sox player with a decent case to be an All-Star was catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He is hitting .254 with 15 homers and 37 RBIs.

He is third in OPS (.838) among AL catchers, first in home runs, and tied for third in RBIs.

“It’s tough, but it’s not the end of the world. Still got a lot of season left,” Saltalamacchia said. “The biggest honor for me, really, is the fact that my teammates are walking around telling me, ‘Hey you should have made it.’ That means more to me than anything because those guys see what I go through on a day-to-day basis and go to war with me every day.”

Saltalamacchia was a forgotten minor league player in the Texas organization when the Red Sox acquired him at the trade deadline in 2010.

“Where I was at three years ago and where I’m at now, it’s a complete turnaround. I’m happy. I’m proud of myself,” he said.

Said Valentine: “I hope he’s not disappointed. I hope he’s proud of the way he’s played and I hope he’s ready to build on it. He’s played like an All-Star. That you don’t get selected is just a numbers game. He’s taken a step this first half and I hope he continues to improve on that.”

Pedroia, a three-time All-Star, knew his chances were slim. He has had a poor offensive season and the AL is well stocked with good second basemen.

“I was off to the great start, hurt my thumb, and it’s been a battle ever since,” Pedroia said. “I know I’m an All-Star-caliber player. I just need to go out there and play well.”

Beckett better

Josh Beckett allowed two runs in six innings Saturday night. He wasn’t involved in the decision as the Sox lost, 3-2, in 11 innings.

“I felt fine,” said Beckett, who came off the disabled list to make the start. “I didn’t feel too rusty or anything. But they wanted to keep me around 80 pitches.”

Beckett had a cortisone shot in his sore right shoulder. He will get one more start before the All-Star break, likely against the Yankees Friday at Fenway Park.

“I think I’ll be fine,” Beckett said. “My shoulder felt good when I pitched. Physically, I was fine.”

Bailey improves

Andrew Bailey, whose comeback from thumb surgery was slowed because of a tired arm, threw from 150 feet before the game without trouble. He is getting close to throwing in the bullpen again. However, Bailey headed back to the East Coast after learning his wife, Amanda, was about to deliver their first child earlier than expected . . . Carl Crawford is headed back to Boston for a scheduled exam on his left wrist and elbow after playing in five Gulf Coast League games. Jacoby Ellsbury is set to play center field for the GCL Red Sox Monday. He could join Double A Portland as soon as Tuesday, according to Valentine. Crawford also will be with the Sea Dogs this week . . . Scott Podsednik, on the DL with a groin strain, has played two games with Triple A Pawtucket and is scheduled for a third game on Monday . . . Adrian Gonzalez has a 12-game hit streak . . . Cody Ross was 2 for 4 and is 16 of 50 (.320) with nine extra-base hits and 12 RBIs in 13 games since coming off the DL . . . The Sox are 21-16 away from Fenway Park this season.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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