Big 3 headed to LA after J.D. named replacement
ST. PETERSBURG -- For the fourth time in his five seasons with the Red Sox and the fifth time in his career, J.D. Martinez is an All-Star.
This time, Martinez had to wait an extra couple of days, as he was named the replacement for injured Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez on Tuesday.
Martinez got the nod because he was next in line via voting on the players’ ballot.
“It’s cool,” Martinez said. “It’s always an honor to go. It’s such a special event when you’re there. It’s really fun. The family loves it; everybody loves it. It’s just a cool experience all the way around.”
Martinez will join two other big bats in Boston’s batting order for the All-Star Game in Los Angeles on July 19 in Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. Devers, Martinez and Bogaerts give the Red Sox one of the best 2-3-4 lineup trios in the game.
Though Martinez is having a down year so far in the power department, with just nine home runs in 300 at-bats, he entered Tuesday leading the American League with 29 doubles and has a solid slash line of .313/.380/.500.
The right-handed hitter leads the Majors in reaching base safely four or more times in a game with eight. He also ranks in the top 10 in the AL in average, on-base percentage, OPS, hits and extra-base hits.
“Great,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Martinez making the squad. “He’s been one of the best offensive players the last six, seven years, and we’re very proud of him. For everything we talk about, power numbers and all that stuff, he’s still putting up great numbers. His OPS is up there.
“When I saw the Alvarez thing on the IL, I had a pretty good idea they were going to call him. It’s great that we have the three guys over there, and they should have fun.”
Martinez admitted he was a little disappointed during All-Star selection Sunday when it looked like he would be bypassed.
“Yeah, I was,” Martinez said. “I think everybody kind of gets disappointed [when they don’t make it]. But it’s whatever. It’s God’s will. That’s the way I look at it. It wasn’t meant to be, but here we are. All is good.”
The one thing Martinez loves the most about All-Star festivities? The camaraderie.
“Just the atmosphere when you’re there. You’re on the field and you’re around all these players, you get to talk to them and you start having conversations about hitting, about situations,” he said. “Like, ‘Oh remember when you faced me and you were doing this, this and that?’ It’s just cool because you never get to interact with players on the other teams, and now, you’re teammates.”
Martinez will also surely look around for hitters who obsess on their craft as much as he does for some good shop talk.
“Yeah, always,” Martinez said. “I’ll always find someone and talk about hitting.”
Given that Martinez is eligible for free agency at the end of the season, there’s a chance this could be his last All-Star nod with the Red Sox.
If that's the case, he’s thankful for the ride he has had so far in Boston.
“It feels good,” Martinez said. “It was my favorite team growing up, and I always wanted to represent them, and now, being able to do it four out of the five [with the Red Sox], I’m proud of that.”
MLB All-Star Week information can be found at AllStarGame.com and on social media @MLB. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.