Jansen earns 4th All-Star Game selection

July 2nd, 2023

TORONTO -- After becoming the seventh pitcher in history to reach 400 Major League saves, Kenley Jansen vowed to keep striving for more. A fourth career All-Star nod shows the closer has made good on his promise.

Jansen will represent the Red Sox in the 2023 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, the league announced on Sunday. This is the right-hander’s first selection since 2018, when he was still pitching for the Dodgers, and the first time he will pitch for the American League in the Midsummer classic.

“I wasn't expecting it, to be honest with you. I wasn't expecting this one,” said Jansen. “But, you know, when I heard my name, it was pretty special. I’m just gonna honor it and wear this uniform, it’s gonna be great.”

Jansen had his teammates with him when he got the news, though he didn’t know what the so-called team meeting was about.

“When they mentioned that, it was pretty special,” said Jansen.

The trip to Seattle furthers an already-strong Hall of Fame case for Jansen. It also adds one more accolade to a season in which the Willemstad, Curaçao, native entered the history books.

“It's just surreal,” Jansen said after that historic game on May 10 against Atlanta. “It’s just crazy. I can say today I'm the seventh guy who did that. With baseball being around for so long, it’s unbelievable. I’m just going to continue to let this keep motivating me and keep striving for more.”

After signing a two-year deal with the Red Sox in the offseason, Jansen didn’t allow a run until April 29, his ninth appearance of 2023. A year after leading the National League with 41 saves, the righty owns 17 in 20 opportunities this season.

Behind the resurging velocity of his sinker and cutter, Jansen has pitched to a 3.45 ERA with 35 strikeouts over 28 2/3 innings. He recorded a four-out save in Toronto in his latest appearance, bringing his career total to 408. In 797 2/3 overall innings, Jansen owns a 2.49 ERA, 1,142 strikeouts and a 20.4 WAR, according to Baseball Reference.

“It's a testament to who he is,” said manager Alex Cora of Jansen's selection. “A veteran that came here and, from day one, you saw him in Spring Training, running at six in the morning, doing all that stuff. Today, he was in the dugout, knowing that he wasn't going to be available and just pulling for everybody. I'm very proud of him.”

No other Red Sox players made the All-Star roster this season, but Jansen will be joined in Seattle by strength coach Kiyoshi Momose, who was announced as part of the AL staff earlier in the week.

Jansen entered the All-Star pool as a pick by the Commissioner’s Office. Sunday’s announcements of pitchers and position-player reserves were a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and league selections.