Notes: Chilling by the bay
With his legs aching, Big Papi sits back to enjoy Derby
SAN FRANCISCO -- David Ortiz has come to represent Major League Baseball every bit as much as the Dominican Republic and Red Sox Nation. And that's why Ortiz refused to let his nagging legs give him any temptation to say "thanks, but no thanks" to his starting nod for the American League in Tuesday's All-Star Game.
The one concession Ortiz made for his personal well-being was to skip the State Farm Home Run Derby, which he participated in the last three years.
"I think I had to chill out this one time," Ortiz said. "I've been having a little bit of problems with my legs and things like that. I decided to just chill out. Being out here is important. Having the appreciation from the fans picking you up and going to the All-Star Game, you have to respect that. I might do [the Derby] next year. People like to see you taking those big swings."
Ortiz will bat third for the American League and play first base. When Ortiz is introduced with the rest of the starting nine on Tuesday, he won't forget for a second why he is in that position.
"The fans appreciate what you do," Ortiz said. "You've got to give them something back. They pick you for a reason. You've got two million votes, that means two million people want to see you playing. You have to keep that in mind. Even if you can't play because of an injury, you should still show up to let them know that you think about what they did and you're here to represent."
Okajima and the vote: Lefty reliever Hideki Okajima knew that he would need all the support he could get to be the winner of the AL Monster 2007 All-Star Final Vote. And that's why he went to MLB.com and voted for himself.
"Yeah, I did," Okajima said through translator Jeff Yamaguchi. "Ten times. I had never experienced voting for myself, so I did it with my wife."
Okajima, who came to Boston with none of the hype bestowed on Daisuke Matsuzaka, is an unlikely All-Star to say the least.
"If you would have told us back in April that we'd have one Japanese guy on the All-Star team and then said it's not going to be Matsuzaka, I don't think they would have believed you," said Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett. "But Oki's done an unbelievable job. Now nothing surprises us. We kind of expect it. We might as well call him Papelbon No. 2 or something."
No start for Beckett: Beckett was on Jim Leyland's list of five pitchers under consideration for starting Tuesday's game, but the nod went to A's right-hander Dan Haren, who leads the American League with a 2.30 ERA.
"When I looked at the numbers, I weighed everything," said Leyland. "I had our PR guy going through all kinds of different statistical numbers over the past three or four weeks and I felt that Danny's numbers certainly should give him the right to start this game. And I would be lying if I said it wasn't a nice extra touch since he pitches right across the bay here in this area."
Beckett, who is 12-2, took the news in stride.
"I'm fine with it. I didn't know which way to expect, so I always expect not to [start] and adjust from there," Beckett said.
Beckett got some pointers on how to enjoy the All-Star festivities without getting overwhelmed.
"I took some advice from some veterans guys that have been to these before and went this morning and signed all my autograph stuff at the stadium," Beckett said.
Buchholz moves up: The Red Sox made it official on Monday that top pitching prospect Clay Buchholz has been promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket. Buchholz will start the fifth game after the break for Pawtucket. Buchholz is 7-2 with a 1.77 ERA in 16 starts for Double-A Portland.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.